Last night, the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip rejected Egypt’s proposal to transfer fuel to the Gaza Strip power plant via Kerem Shalom Crossing. Ahmad Abu al-Amarin of Energy Authority in Gaza said that the proposal was rejected in light of Hamas’ past experience with Israeli control over goods entering the Gaza Strip. News of the Palestinian Authority’s rejection of Israel’s proposal to sell fuel to the Gaza Strip had been reported earlier.

A boy holds a candle during a protest against the blackouts in Gaza. Photo: ReutersIn the meantime, the supply of reserve fuel is running out. About 72% of the fuel supplies of all hospitals in Gaza have already run out and the minister of health in the Strip has warned that hospital generators were expected to stop working today. If this occurs, more than 400 kidney patients in the Gaza Strip will be in danger as their dialysis machines require a steady supply of electricity for many hours at a time.

Oxfam warns that if the fuel supply is not renewed, there is a high risk that the streets will be flooded with sewage, which may cost lives. On February 11, ten-year-old Ahmad al-Zein drowned in a sewage treatment pool in Beit Lahia and in December two brothers aged two and five drowned in a sewage treatment pool near Khan Yunis. Oxfam also warns that the water supply to households in the Gaza Strip may be reduced by 50%.

Demand for benzene to run small generators and for automobiles in Gaza is estimated between 250-300,000 liters per day. Demand for diesel runs between 700-750,000 liters (for larger generators and ambulances), of which 350,000 liters are used by the power plant. During the past weeks, the amount of all kinds of fuel entering Gaza via the tunnels dropped to approximately 350,000 liters per day – a third of what had entered previously.