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The people of Gaza have had to suffer the long standing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, and in recent years, due to a shortage of available, affordable fuel, up to eight hours of blackout every day.
Now, Fathy Asheik-Khalil, the chairman of the Gaza Energy Authority, has announced that due to the ever worsening shortage of fuel the lone power plant, which supplied electricity to almost half of Gaza’s population, is set to be shut down on Friday. This will only make life harder for the citizens who are now likely to face 12 hours of blackouts each day.
Fuel to the poor coastal territory run by the Islamist Hamas group has been in especially short supply since June when Egypt strengthened its campaign to block off smuggling tunnels along its border, and bring an end to the illegal trade of fuel that existed as a major source of imports for Gaza.
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The Ramallah Palestinian Authority is allowed to exercise some rule of governance over the Gaza Strip, last week promised to deliver fuel into Gaza on a tax-free basis. This would allow Hamas to purchase up to 400,000 litres of fuel a day at an affordable, low rate.
Fuel used to be smuggled from Egypt via tunnels such as this. The Egyptian government is now working to shutdown this illegal trade.
Khalil however, has said that the Palestinians have now retracted their offer of tax-free fuel, and whilst still willing to deliver supplies, the higher price puts it out of range for Hamas.
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The power plant used to generate 65 megawatts, and its loss will be sorely missed. Israel still supplies 120 megawatts of power to Gaza, and Egypt contributes an extra 27 megawatts, both countries of which the Palestinian Authority pays for the energy.
In order to live through the national blackouts citizens use personal generators to power their homes, but rising fuel prices, as a result of the shortage, mean that even this reprieve is becoming more difficult to many.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com