Hamas to Blame for Gaza Electricity Crisis, Top IDF General Says

Coordinator in the territories Maj. Gen Yoav Mordechai says Israel supplies Gaza with 122 megawatts of power and 350 million liters of fuel on an ongoing basis.

A Palestinian chants slogans during a demonstration against the chronic power cuts in Jabaliya refugee camp, Northern Gaza Strip, January 12, 2017.
Khalil Hamra/AP

The Israeli general responsible for civilian issues within the Gaza Strip denied on Friday that Israel was to blame for the current electricity crisis in the isolated enclave.

Israel supplies the Strip with 122 megawatts of electricity on an ongoing basis, said Maj. Gen. Yoav (Poli) Mordechai, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT). He added that a recent fault with one of the electricity lines had been repaired immediately.

In addition to the electricity from Israel, Egypt supplies 20-30 MW and the Gaza power station generates 60 MW, he said.

Mordechai denied that Israel prevents the entry of diesel fuel into the Strip, saying that some 350 million liters of fuel were supplied to the power station through the Kerem Shalom pipes.

Israel would supply 700 liters daily if it were economically viable, he added. Israel's electricity company has reportedly not been paid for the electricity supplied in the past and wants financial guarantees before it delivers more.

Residents of Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip protesting against power cuts on Thursday.
Khalil Hamra.AP

Mordechai blamed Hamas for the current electricity crisis in Gaza. "The leaders of Hamas enjoy electricity 24/7, while the rest of the population only gets three hours a day," he said.

He also accused Hamas of using the funds it raises from taxing electricity for "personal interests and military equipment." Every tunnel from Gaza has a generator beside it exclusively for the use of Hamas, Mordechai said.

Meanwhile, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum accused the Palestinian Authority of using the crisis to "damage Hamas's image and sanction Gaza's people."

He stressed that Hamas was open to "positive collaboration with any effort to solve the crisis."