Gaza power shortage to worsen as Israel reduces supply

TEL AVIV: Israel will reduce electricity supplies to the Gaza Strip after funding cuts by Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, a minister said on Monday, worsening an already severe shortage in the enclave.
The security cabinet decided on Sunday to reduce the daily amount supplied to Gaza by around 45 minutes, Israeli media reported.
Gazans currently receive only three or four hours of electricity a day, delivered from the territory’s own power station and others in Israel
and Egypt.
Residents who can afford it use generators to power their homes or businesses in the impoverished Palestinian enclave of some two million people.
Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, also a cabinet member, told army radio the reduction was due to an ongoing row between Abbas and Hamas. Abbas has reportedly decided to slash electricity payments for Gaza in a further bid to pressure Hamas.
But the reduction has also sparked fears of another upsurge in violence, with Israel and Hamas having fought three wars since 2008.
Hamas has run Gaza since 2007, when it seized it in a near civil war from Fatah following an electoral dispute over parliamentary polls won by the movement.
Abbas runs the Palestinian Authority, the internationally recognised Palestinian leadership based in the occupied West Bank.
Multiple attempts at reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah have failed, but the Palestinian Authority (PA) has continued to pay Israel for some electricity delivered to Gaza.
Abbas recently decided to “significantly reduce” payments for Gazan electricity, Erdan said. — AFP