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The New Arab

Outrage as Ramallah asks Israel to cut-off Gaza electricity

Destruction in Gaza strip [Getty]

Date of publication: 29 May, 2017

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Authorities in the Hamas-run Gaza have reacted angrily to the PA requesting Israel to cut off electricity supplies as the besieged enclave falls into a deepening humanitarian crisis
Hamas-run Gaza is urging the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah to reverse ‘mad move’ asking Israel to choke off the besieged enclave’s power supply.

The deputy chairman of the Gaza power authority, Fathi Sheikh Khalil said in a press conference on Sunday that the Gaza power authority had met all of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) conditions to reverse its request to Israel that it stops electricity from entering the besieged enclave.

His comments come as the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) announced last Thursday that Israel had planned on decreasing its electricity supply to the Gaza strip at the request of the PA.

The COGAT is a unit in Israeli Defence Ministry, which is responsible for implementing the Israeli government’s policies in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip.

COGAT spokesperson Yoav Mordechai told BBC Arabic in an interview the PA had requested that electricity to be cut in Gaza.

The decision will cut power supplies which provide around 30 percent of Gaza's electricity needs.

Hamas immediately slammed the move, with spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri labelling it a "grave escalation" and an "act of madness," according to Reuters.

Read more: Fears of blackout after Palestinian Authority cuts Gaza's electricity

The West Bank and Gaza have been run by separate Palestinian administrations since 2007, following a brief, but deadly, civil war between Fatah and Hamas.

Hamas won Palestinian elections in 2006 but was immediately blacklisted by the United States, the European Union, and other Western powers. Sanctions were imposed and foreign aid suspended.

In subsequent fighting, Hamas ousted Fatah from Gaza, with the group saying it pre-empted a US-backed Fatah coup.

For the past decade, Gaza has been under a suffocating Israeli-Egyptian blockade, severely damaging the enclave's economy.

In 2015, the United Nations warned that Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020 if current political and economic trends caused by Israeli policies continue.

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