pa israeli diesel set to enter gaza
Last Updated : GMT 00:27:23
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PA: Israeli diesel set to enter Gaza

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today PA: Israeli diesel set to enter Gaza

Gaza - MA'AN

Nathmi Mhanna, a Palestinian Authority border official, said Thursday that 450,000 liters of Israeli diesel would be pumped through the Kerem Shalom crossing on Friday. The fuel will be used to power the sole electricity plant, Mhanna told Ma\'an. The official said President Mahmoud Abbas and his prime minister, Salam Fayyad, coordinated with Egypt before deciding to route the fuel through Kerem Shalom to ease the crisis. The health ministry in Gaza says it is running on less than 20 percent of electricity, and the remaining amounts are enough for only another four days of power. Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman of the ministry, said around 70 ambulances will stop working if there is no fuel in the next few days, adding that 15 health service cars and 18 ambulances were already offline. The ministry raised the alarm on Thursday as officials with the electricity authority and fuel crisis management team met to discuss the situation amid the enclave\'s ongoing crisis. Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are suffering a crisis of dry petrol pumps and frequent blackouts triggered by a fuel supply dispute between Egypt and the enclave\'s Hamas rulers. Taxis are scarce, with would-be passengers fighting for rides, and the government has ordered civil servants with vehicles to pick up hitchhikers. Last month, Egypt began restricting the flow of fuel to Gaza through the network of smuggling tunnels running under their border. Gaza\'s lone power plant ran out of fuel for its generators, causing outages affecting nearly two-thirds of the area\'s population of 1.7 million. Egypt prefers to send fuel through the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing, citing old international understandings which limited the use of Egypt\'s Rafah terminal with Gaza to the movement of passengers. Hamas objects. It is opposed to giving Israel the opportunity to block supplies in times of tension and wants direct trade with Egypt, a move that could strengthen Gaza\'s economy and Hamas\'s popularity. The rocky relationship between Egypt and Hamas has bolstered the crisis. Running on empty Some sources accused Egypt of creating fuel shortages to pressure the movement to implement a unity deal with Western-backed Abbas. Mohammed Awad, the deputy prime minister in Gaza, said the crisis was politically motivated and Hamas \"will overcome it\". The Gaza-based leadership has balked at the accord signed by Khaled Meshaal, a leader of the group who lives in exile, because it fears the reconciliation agreement could weaken its control of the enclave. Urging \"concerned parties\" to resolve the supply problems as soon as possible, Maxwell Gaylard, the UN humanitarian coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, said hospitals and ambulance services were finding it increasingly difficult to function and already fragile water and sanitation systems were failing. \"These chronic shortages are reaching beyond the rationing of electricity and water for households which has been a feature over the past several years, to a situation where day-to-day life for Gazans is ever more difficult,\" Gaylard said in a statement on Thursday. The shortages have spawned a black market, with the price of a litre of diesel approaching seven Israeli shekels ($1.87) compared with 2.50 shekels ($0.67) before the crisis.

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