Published On: Sun, Jul 20th, 2014

90% Darkness in Gaza as Israel Refuses to Repair Power Lines Downed by Hamas Rockets


Gazan’s are only getting 2 hours of electricity out of every 24 hours.

gaza-bombed In Darkness

 

Gaza based blogger Mohammed Omer is hard at work describing the hardships endured by the ultimate victims of this war, the civilians of Gaza.

Not exactly innocent victims, seeing as, back in 2006, they voted in the very people provoking this war. Of course, no one has asked them to vote again since.

Access to normal levels of electricity has been reduced every year since 2006, reports Omer. That year, Israeli warships hit Gaza’s only power plant, which used to service the Gaza Strip at almost full capacity.

These days, under Israel’s military offensive by land, sea and air, the Gaza Strip is left with only 2 hours of electricity at the max, writes Omer. Some areas have not had any electricity at all for the past 48 hours.

“There’s not much we can do in 2 hours. How do we do the laundry, connect the water generator, charge our cell-phones to contact family and friends who may be sick or worse, or check for news on TV, or do simple kitchen chores?” says Gaza resident Umm Mohammed.

On Friday, Gaza’s Electricity Distribution Company announced that Israel refused to allow electricity to be accessed by Gaza, meaning outages are up to 90%, reports Omer.

What Omer fails to acknowledge, possibly because no one told him, is the much reported fact that it was a Hamas rocket that took down a major high wire connection at Kissufim, near the Gaza border, following which the Israeli Electric Company refused to risk the lives of its technical crews to fix the problem.

On July 13, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Infrastructure Minister Silvan Shalom instructed the Israel Electric Company not to endanger its employees by repairing the lines while the threat of rocket attacks from Gaza remains.

“The power company plans to remedy the problem, ” Israel Electric said in a statement. “However, in view of the security situation and the great danger faced by employees by making the repair under fire, the error will be corrected as soon as we possibly can in terms of security.”

Gaza has never experienced such levels of power shortage in previous wars, say Gaza’s electric company officials.

Jamal Al Dardsawi, public relations director of the Gaza electric company, says that Israel has started to gradually cut supplies to Gaza from its Israeli companies, where the Gaza company is a client.

According to Al Dardsawi, 13 electricity lines have been badly damaged by either Israel’s continuous air strikes or artillery shelling, within the past 24 hours alone.

No mention of Hamas rockets.

Dardsawi complained that Israel is refusing to let his own company workers repair the damaged lines, even to just relieve some of the darkness across the Gaza Strip.

This is because the power tower that was downed by Hamas happens to be in Israel’s territory. Presumably a ceasefire must be in place before repair crews are permitted to roam about on either side of the border.

“The electricity company is bordering on total shutdown with Israel constantly and deliberately bombing domestic power lines, ” Dardsawi points the finger in only one direction.

Gaza requires 360 megawatts, according to Omer, to cover the needs of 1.8 million Palestinians living in Gaza.

Gaza buys its electricity from three sources: Israeli lines providing 120 megawatts, Egypt’s lines 28 megawatts and Gaza’s power plant between 40-60 megawatts.

On Thursday, Israel closed the Kerem Shalom Crossing, which is the only access for industrial fuel into Gaza. It was heavily targeted by Hamas rockets. Also, Hamas terror tunnels were discovered to open into the same area.

The Gaza electric company will not be able to produce the remaining 40-60 megawatts it has provided to date.

The Hamas Interior Ministry stated that they are in contact with the International Committee for the Red Cross, to try and secure workers who would fix the broken lines. It is possible that the humanitarian organization is also reluctant to lose employees to Hamas rocket launches and Israeli return fire.

Several services workers have already been killed and injured, Omer reports.

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