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Israel to partially open Gaza border crossing as power shortage bites

As besieged Gaza Strip faces unprecedented electricity crisis, self-proclaimed Jewish state announces limited opening of Karam Abu Salem border crossing

Bassem Aly, Wednesday 6 Jun 2012
The Karam Abu Salem border crossing between southern Israel and the Gaza. (Photo: AP)
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Views: 1064

The Israeli authorities on Tuesday announced the partial opening to the Karam Abu Salem border crossing to allow the passage of goods and humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza Strip.

A government official in Gaza told the Palestinian Ma'an news agency that almost 280 trucks – loaded with commercial, agricultural and transportation supplies – was set to enter the strip imminently.

The same source added that limited quantities of cooking gas and diesel fuel – the latter destined for Gaza's power station – had already been transferred to the besieged strip.

The Hamas-run Gaza Strip has recently been suffering its worst electricity crisis in living memory. The crisis was sparked by a decline in fuel supplies being smuggled into the coastal territory from neighbouring Egypt, forcing the closure of its sole power plant and causing power cuts of up to 18 hours a day.

Israel gave the green light for the fuel to be transferred to the strip across its territory after receiving a request from the Egyptian government, an Israeli security official said.

Fatah media spokesman in Cairo Riyad Saidam pointed out that the Karam Abu Salem crossing was partially opened on a daily basis. He mentioned that the closing and opening of such strategic passages signified Israel's desire "to control the lives of Palestinian civilians."

"The Palestinians have no sovereignty over the borders of their territory, whether inside the Gaza Strip or in the West Bank. The Israeli withdrawal from Gaza was a deception," Saidam said.

By mid-1994, Israel has withdrawn its troops from the Gaza Strip, while the Palestinian Authority assumed administrative control instead.

This settlement came as a result of the so-called 1993 Oslo Accords, in which Israel agreed to recognize Yasser Arafat as its partner in peace talks, and agreed to recognize Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip . The Palestinians in turn recognized Israel's right to exist while also renouncing the use of terrorism and its long-held call for Israel's destruction. 

For the energy crisis,the situation eased somewhat in April after a deal was struck between Gaza's Hamas government and the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank, which agreed to supply Gaza with fuel purchased from Israel. Yet the Palestinians blamed Egypt for its weak contribution to solving the impasse.

"There has been a change of roles between the Israelis and the Egyptians in suffocating the Palestinian people and maintaining the siege on Gaza," read a statement posted on the Palestinian Energy and Natural Resources Authority's website.

The statement came in response to a delay in the delivery of 30 million litres of Qatari fuel, which was meant to have entered the Gaza Strip last Sunday, officials said, prompting angry reactions from the Palestinian energy authority.

But Raed Fatuh, head coordinator for the PA at the Karam Abu Salem crossing between southern Gaza and Israel, told AFP that the delay had been the result of "technical issues" on the Egyptian side.

Saidam called on the Egyptian authorities to boost cooperation with besieged Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

"We're aware that Israel is pressing Egypt to impose the blockade on the strip," he said. "We're nevertheless hoping for more help from the Egyptian side."

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06-06-2012 03:48pm
good to live near Jews
Funny that (as Ahram stupidly calls it) "self-proclaimed" Jewish State is helping its avowed enemies while than the self-proclaimed "Arab Republic of Egypt" washes its hands.. Just one more proof that leaving at peace with Jews has always been a boon to Arabs. Gazans and West Bankers already learned the lesson but are still afraid to say it loudly, for fear of being called disloyal and nonpatriotic by their Egyptian, Syrian, Lebanese and other "brothers".
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