Israel halts fuel to Gaza power plant before enough diesel accumulated

A052680715.jpgGAZA, Nov. 11 – Israel stopped delivering fuel to Gaza power station Tuesday afternoon hours after providing insufficient amount, Palestinian officials said. “The amount of fuel that Israel allowed into Gaza Strip today did not exceed 420,000 liters of industrial diesel,” said Kan’an Obaid, deputy director of the Palestinian Power Authority.

“This amount of fuel can operate the power plant only for 30 hours,” Obaid explained. “After that, I think Gaza will plunge into darkness again.”

In the morning, Israel resumed fuel shipments to the only power plant which was shut down on Monday, Palestinian officials said.

However, the plant which produces 25 percent of Gaza Strip electricity, did not resume production, waiting enough fuel to accumulate.

Mahmoud al-Khozendar of the petrol stations union said the industrial diesel is being trucked in from Nahal Oz crossing point in eastern Gaza city to the only power plant located in central Gaza Strip.

“The Israeli side told us that 2.5 million liters of industrial diesel would be delivered today and tomorrow,” al-Khozendar said. “This amount is enough for operating the station for one week.”

However, al-Khozendar says Israel pumps the fuel at Nahal Oz “slower than usual; less than quarter of the average.”

He added the power plant will remain off until it is assured that enough amount of fuel would be delivered. “The station needs four hours of warming up until starting to generate electricity and this can not be done without making sure that there is enough diesel in the storage tankers.”

Large parts of Gaza city plunged into darkness on Monday after the power plant stopped. Israel closed all crossing points into Gaza following November 4th surge up of violence between Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and Israel.

Meanwhile, Hatem Owaida, an aide to Hamas’ minister of economy, said Israel allowed the European-funded industrial diesel into Gaza but extended the closure of crossing points before cargo and other kinds of fuel, especially the cooking gas, were delivered.

Hamas and Israel observe a ceasefire though the closure of the crossings violates the Egyptian-brokered deal.

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