Israeli electricity shutoff deepens social crisis in Gaza

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Israeli electricity shutoff deepens social crisis in Gaza

By
Jean Shaoul

5 September 2017

Palestinians in Gaza have suffered a catastrophic decline in living conditions, largely ignored by the world’s media, because of Israel’s drastic cut in June of the territory’s already precarious supply of electricity.

The 2 million Palestinians living in Gaza are now able to access electricity for as little as two hours a day, and this during the sweltering heat and humidity of an East Mediterranean summer.

Last week, United Nations General Secretary Antonio Guterres, speaking after a three day visit to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, described it as “one of the most dramatic humanitarian crises” he had ever seen. He called for the opening of Gaza’s borders with Israel and Egypt.

Guterres made no mention of Israel’s responsibility for the current disaster. However, the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem has been more forthright, saying Israel has condemned the people of Gaza to live “in abject poverty under practically inhuman conditions unparalleled in the modern world.”

B’Tselem declared that failure to provide power to the Gazan population is “primarily a direct result of official Israeli policy.” It describes how Israel “prevents the repair and restoration of [Gaza’s only] power station it bombed in 2006, keeping it from operating at full capacity.” It added that Israel “compels Gaza residents to purchase Israeli fuel exclusively, and to do so for the same price paid inside Israel,” despite immense disparities between the two economies, and “delays or prevents repairs to the power grid and imposes restrictions on bringing spare parts into Gaza.”

Gaza relies almost entirely on Israel for its electricity supply—either directly via…

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