The Gaza Strip is bracing for a severe energy crisis after donor funds from Qatar and Turkey — used to purchase diesel fuel for the coastal enclave’s lone power plant — have run out.
The Hamas-controlled energy authority in Gaza said it no longer has the funds to buy more diesel fuel and pay the requisite taxes, which are levied by the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah.
IDF Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, head of Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories unit, warned that fuel for the power station in Gaza would likely run out very soon. The Hamas-run health ministry said Gaza residents’ lives were in danger due to rolling power cuts in an attempt to conserve fuel.
In January 2017, Turkey pledged to send 15,000 tons of diesel fuel to Gaza to operate the power station. Qatar’s head of state (known as the emir), Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, met with Hamas’s then-political bureau deputy chief Ismail Haniyeh and promised to transfer $12 million to the Palestinian Energy Authority in Ramallah to purchase the large quantities of diesel fuel needed to run the Gaza power station.
In the past, extended power outages have sparked public outcry in Gaza. Much of the blame for the energy crisis has been aimed at the PA, but Hamas has also been criticized, despite that demonstrations in Gaza against Hamas have been outlawed by the terrorist organization.
Beyond the one power plant, Gaza’s 2 million residents also rely on electricity imports from Israel and Egypt.