Gaza’s power plant has resumed operations. Only four consecutive hours of electricity available to residents

After hitting an all-time-low last week, Gaza’s sole power plant resumed operations on Friday. Electricity supply to the Strip is currently 140 MW.

A family home by candlelight in Gaza. Photo by Gisha.

July 16, 2017. After hitting an all-time-low last week, Gaza’s sole power plant resumed operations on Friday, bringing the total electricity supply available to the Strip to 140 megawatts. Fuel purchased from Egypt, which entered the Strip through Rafah Crossing on Thursday, allowed the power plant to restore operations. Three of its turbines have been working since Friday, producing 70 megawatts. Supply from Israel, 70 megawatts, is about 58 percent of what was sold and supplied prior to the Israeli cabinet’s decision to reduce the supply of electricity to Gaza, in response to the Palestinian Authority’s request. Supply lines from Egypt are still out of commission.

Residents receive electricity in cycles of four consecutive hours, at most, followed by 12 hours of outage. Since the start of the current electricity crisis, about three months ago, hospitals struggle to provide essential services; the sea and land are being polluted due to the inability to operate sewage treatment facilities; entire neighborhoods are plunged into darkness, and; medical patients, children, and the elderly are put at great risk.

The crisis is a product of policy, and as such, it can be solved, given political will. All responsible parties – de facto Hamas authorities in the Strip, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, and, of course, Israel – must stop using the lives of two million residents of Gaza as bargaining chips in political power struggles, immediately alleviate the unnecessary hardships they suffer, and begin implementing long-term, sustainable solutions for the improvement of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure.