Gaza’s Only Functioning Power Plant to Shut Down

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Al-Akhbar Management

Published Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Gaza's only power plant is due to shut down by the end of this week as donor funding for fuel in the coastal territory has run out, officials said.

Sources old Ma'an news agency that the power plant had been using a Qatari grant to pay for diesel fuel to maintain operations.

Gaza's sole power station, which was damaged during the Israeli assault last summer, is struggling with a severe lack of fuel and is only able to supply the enclave with six hours of power per day.

In July, Amnesty International said that there was no justification for "targeting a civilian structure that provides crucial services to so many civilians."

"The strike on the power plant, which cut off electricity and running water to Gaza's 1.8 million residents and numerous hospitals has catastrophic humanitarian implications and is very likely to amount to a war crime," Philip Luther, Director of Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa Program, said.

For 51 days this summer, Israel pounded the Gaza Strip by air, land and sea. The Israeli offensive ended on August 26 with an Egypt-brokered ceasefire deal.

More than 2,310 Gazans, 70 percent of them civilians, were killed and 10,626 injured during unrelenting Israeli attacks on the besieged strip this summer.

The besieged enclave has also seen widespread destruction of its infrastructure, reaching levels of devastation that UN chief Ban Ki Moon called “beyond description” in a visit to the Strip on October 14.

The UN said more than 96,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in the recent Israeli war on the besieged enclave, over twice the UN's original estimate. The majority of Gaza’s 110,000 homeless people are children.

The Israeli strikes targeted 13 public hospitals, 17 non-governmental hospitals, including al-Wafa Hospital which was completely destroyed, 23 governmental health centers, four of which were completely destroyed, and four private health centers, including the Khalil al-Wazir Clinic which was completely destroyed.

Israel routinely bars the entry of building materials into the embattled coastal enclave on grounds that Palestinian resistance faction Hamas could use them to build underground tunnels or fortifications.

Under Israeli blockade by air, land and sea since 2007, the Gaza Strip has seven border crossings linking it to the outside world. Six of these are controlled by Israel, while the seventh – the Rafah crossing – is controlled by Egypt, which recently closed it following a wave of attacks in Sinai.

Moreover, Gaza has been forced to depend on Israeli electricity as a result of the siege, which has crippled domestic production and repair capabilities.

(Ma’an, Al-Akhbar)

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