UN expresses 'deep concern' over Palestinian-Israeli political power play with Gaza lives

UN expresses 'deep concern' over Palestinian-Israeli political power play with Gaza lives
The UN has condemned the joint Israeli-Palestinian Authority energy blockade of Gaza, as Ramallah attempts to extend its authority over the besieged land strip.
2 min read
13 August, 2017
Gaza has been effectively under siege since 2007 [AFP]
The situation in the Gaza Strip is of "deep concern", according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights office (OHCHR, as a three-month electricity supply cut by Israel and the Palestinian Authority continues to strangle the besieged territory.
"At the height of summer, with soaring temperatures, electricity provision has not risen above six hours per day since the beginning of the current crisis in April, and has often been under four hours," OHCHR spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said during a media briefing in Switzerland.

"This has a grave impact on the provision of essential health, water and sanitation services."

She added that Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas in Gaza are "not meeting their obligations to promote and protect the rights of the residents" in the territory.

The years' long energy crisis in Gaza has worsened due to the PA's refusal to pay for electricity for residents in the besieged territory.

In an attempt to tackle to energy blockade, Hamas has reportedly been in negotiations with former Fatah strongman and current security adviser to the UAE, Mohammed Dahlan to allow in electricity supplies from Egypt.
Earlier this month, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reportedly demanded that Hamas stop dealing with his rival Dahlan and to hold elections in exchange for a more regular flow of electricity.

Days later, Abbas threatened Hamas by saying he would only resume electricity payments to Israel for power to the besieged enclave if the Gaza-based authority agreed to share power.

Gaza has effectively been under siege by Israel since Hamas came to power in 2007, but has received most of its electricity and fuel from Israel ever since - subsidised by the PA.

A similar blockade from the Egyptian side of the border has exasperated the problems for Gazans, which energy, food, fuel, medical supplies and building materials are in short supply.

In April, the PA began to end energy payments, causing frequent power cuts in Gaza and severe pressure on regional hospitals.

The World Health Organisation warned in June that the blackouts threatened Gaza's health service provision and placed people's lives at real risk.

In order to reverse this trend however, Abbas said he was ready to resume payments in exchange for a power-sharing deal from Hamas.

Hamas published a rewrite of its charter in May, with a reconciliatory nod towards the PA - the first step towards reconciliation.

"Hamas emphasises the need to build Palestinian institutions and national platform on solid and correct democratic bases," the new charter reads.