Israel renews transfer of fuel to Gaza’s power plant after blocking its entry via Kerem Shalom for three consecutive days

The power plant in Gaza, 2016. Photo by Gisha

The power plant in Gaza, 2016. Photo by Gisha

July 1, 2019. On Friday, Israel renewed the transfer of fuel destined for Gaza’s sole power plant after blocking its entry into the Strip through Kerem Shalom Crossing for three consecutive days. Four truckloads of fuel were transferred to Gaza through the crossing on Friday, and the power plant resumed operations of three of its four turbines. As a result, power supply is now available to residents in cycles of 8 hours followed by 8-hour blackouts.

In recent months, three of the four turbines in Gaza’s power plant had been running on fuel purchased from Israel using funds donated by Qatar and transferred from Israel to the Strip via Kerem Shalom Crossing under the supervision of the United Nations. While Israel was blocking the transfer of fuel to the power plant (June 25-27), only two of the plant’s turbines were able to operate, relying partly on fuel from the private sector, and supply dropped to about 5-6 hours followed by 12-hour blackouts.

The renewal of fuel transfer to Gaza was included in the ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, mediated by Egypt and the UN, which went into effect on Friday. The agreement also reportedly included an expansion of the “fishing zone” enforced by Israel in Gaza’s sea space. Fishing is now permitted up to a distance of 15 nautical miles (nm) between Rafah and Wadi Gaza; the area to the north of the Gaza Port is still limited to 6 nm.