Monday, 20 July 2015

Israeli army opens fire on farmers and homes east of Gaza

Israeli soldiers fired, on Monday morning, rounds of live ammunition, on a number of Palestinian farmers and homes, east of Gaza City.

Media sources said soldiers, stationed on military towers across the border fence east of the Zeitoun neighborhood, targeted farmlands and several homes.

The attack caused property damage but no injuries, while the farmers had to leave their lands, fearing additional Israeli military fire. more

Gaza's sole power plant to shut down in ongoing energy crisis

Gaza's sole power plant will stop running Monday evening as it is unable to cover taxes imposed by the national unity government, Gaza's energy authority said.

The unity government waved the tax in a show of good will in the four months to the end of Ramadan, but the Gazan energy authority said in a statement Monday that since the tax has been reinstated it can no longer afford to keep the plant running.

The energy authority added that it had only been able cover the cost of maintaining the plant during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan and following Eid holiday by borrowing from local companies and taking loans from banks.

The tax imposed on fuel before it is sold to Gaza amounts to a 50 percent price hike on the price of fuel per liter, or 3.5 shekels ($0.91), the statement said.

Gaza is facing an ongoing energy crisis, with residents of the coastal enclave provided only a fraction of the energy needed.

Earlier on Monday, 25 percent of the coastal enclave's energy supply was cut off when two power gridsrun by Israel shut down due to a technical error. more

2 main Israeli power grids providing electricity to Gaza down for days

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A technical error in Israel cut off two main power grids responsible for supplying Gaza with electricity over the weekend. The down lines provide 25 percent (30 megawatts) of the electricity Israel supplies to Gaza.

The Number Eight power grid that provides central Gaza and parts of Khan Younis with electricity shut down three days ago, and the al Qubba power grid for the Gaza District shut down on Sunday.

The Gaza Electricity Distribution Company said it is attempting to cooperate with the Palestinian Power Authority to repair the broken grids, but said the Israeli army is obstructing these efforts and allegedly preventing the Israeli Electricity Corporation from fixing the grids on the grounds of security concerns.

Technicians were also barred for some time from repairing the al Qubba grid when it shut down in May. Gaza currently receives electricity from the Israel, Egypt, and a power station inside Gaza.

However, these supply lines fall far short of the Gazan population's needs. While the three suppliers provide 230 MW of electricity, the UN estimates that only meets half of Gaza's needs.

Israel and Egypt have maintained a severe blockade of the Gaza Strip for the last eight years that has crippled the coastal enclave's economy by limiting imports, exports, and movement of people.

Although the power plant inside Gaza has a potential output of 120 MW it has been unable to produce that much due to Israeli restrictions on fuel imports. Instead, the Gaza plant generally produces around 60 MW, 50 percent of its potential. more