Palestinians Reach Fuel Deal for Gaza Power Plant

Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Marco Castro

An electricity crisis in Gaza blamed as a cause for the deaths of multiple children appears to be over after the two main Palestinian political groups reached a deal on supplying fuel for the coastal enclave’s power plant. The WAFA Palestinian news agency reported that fuel for one day arrived on Wednesday into Gaza, following the agreement reached on Tuesday.

According to the report, the deal will provide consistent fuel shipments for Gaza if the Strip’s power company—under the authority of Hamas—pays the Palestinian Authority (PA) for the fuel.

The PA is effectively run by the West Bank-centered Fatah group led by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, the political rival to the Gaza-leading Hamas faction. In 2007, Hamas took over Gaza in a bloody coup that essentially kicked Fatah out of the Strip. The two groups signed a reconciliation agreement last May, but it has yet to be fully implemented.

The Hamas website, meanwhile, had further raised the stakes on the crisis by blaming the deaths of three children on the power crisis. In a report posted on Tuesday, Hamas said a fire that killed the children was caused by burning candles for light that ignited petrol in the home.

However, WAFA previously reported that PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad had accused Hamas officials of skipping a meeting in Egypt aimed at reaching an agreement on the fuel-shortage.

In the past, power problems in Gaza have been a point of contention between Hamas and Fatah. An anonymous Israeli official, who did want not to be named, said in a recent report by The Mideast Update that “internal issues” between Hamas and the PA, such as Hamas failing to pay for the fuel, has led to multiple power shortages in Gaza over the last two to three years.

(By Joshua Spurlock,, April 5, 2012)