There may be some relief in store for the electricity shortage in the Gaza Strip. Under an agreement drawn up in recent weeks, Qatar will finance the purchase of fuel for Gaza’s power plant.
The arrangement, which is supposed to go into effect in the coming days, will allow a significant increase in the supply of power to Gaza residents. Israel hopes that this development, which should provide an immediate improvement to residents’ daily lives, will reduce the risk of a military confrontation with Hamas.
Gaza now gets around four hours of electricity a day. The Qatari aid, estimated to be tens of millions of dollars, aims to raise the average to eight hours a day.
As Haaretz reported last week, talks on this issue have been taking place over the past few months under the UN envoy to the region, Nickolay Mladenov. Qatar was represented by its envoy to Israel and the territories, Mohammed al-Amedi. The Israeli official most involved was National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat. The breakthrough was reached at the conference of countries that donate to the Palestinians, which took place last week in New York alongside the UN General Assembly sessions.
Here’s the part that Western media is so reluctant to report:
Previous talks had raised the possibility of increasing the electricity supply from Israel by upgrading the power line from Israel to Gaza, but this proposal met with difficulties because the Palestinian Authority objected. Understandings reached in the past regarding electricity were linked to legal and financial commitments by the PA. But Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has refused moves to improve the electricity supply in Gaza unless there is progress in the PA-Hamas reconciliation talks.
Israel needs to negotiate with its enemy Qatar to provide electricity to Palestinians in Gaza, against the wishes of Palestinians in Ramallah. The Qatari fuel would be pumped directly from Israel into Gaza.
If it could, Israel would provide more electricity directly to Gaza but it is limited by existing agreements with Abbas.
These two facts by themselves shows that Israel cares more about the welfare of ordinary Palestinians than their own leaders do.
It is a stunning indictment of Palestinian leadership. But the media and world diplomats won’t say anything negative about “peacemaker” Mahmoud Abbas, so this story gets buried along with the many others that show that Palestinian leaders don’t care about their own people except at cannon fodder and political pawns.
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