Two trucks carrying some 35,000 liters (9,200 gallons) of fuel entered the Gaza Strip from the Kerem Shalom border crossing on Tuesday after Qatar, which paid Israel for the transfer, deposited a check through the United Nations. They were escorted by U.N. vehicles.
Egyptian and Palestinian officials said that Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas had spared no effort, until the last minute to block the transfer of fuel to the coastal enclave.
A senior Palestinian official told Israel Hayom that Abbas had spoken with U.N. Middle East envoy Nikolay Mladenov and accused him of helping to bypass Palestinian leadership. Abbas had also warned he would instruct the Palestinian Finance Ministry not to transfer the salaries of those workers with UNRWA, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, set to receive the tankers in Gaza.
A senior Egyptian official told Israel Hayom that the P.A. had warned Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and other Arab leaders that through their actions, they were helping establishment a “Muslim Brotherhood state in Gaza.” According to the official, Abbas is doing everything in his power to ensure the situation in Gaza escalates and keep Hamas from reaping any diplomatic gains.
Last year, Abbas suspended the P.A.’s payments for the power Gaza receives from Israel, plunging the Strip into a severe energy crisis and leaving Gazans with four to six hours of electricity per day. This, combined with a series of financial sanctions, dilapidated infrastructure and soaring unemployment that has recently crossed 50 percent, has seen civil unrest in Gaza grow, and with it, security tensions with Israel.
A top United Nations official said earlier that Qatar was buying fuel to restart the only power plant in the beleaguered Gaza Strip.
Jamie McGoldrick, the U.N.’s resident humanitarian coordinator, said this will add a few more hours of electricity to Gaza’s 2 million residents, who experience daily blackouts for up to 16 hours.
He said discussions were underway to find the “most optimal way” to deliver the fuel through Israel.
The territory’s terrorist Hamas rulers have accused the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority of hindering the Qatari efforts.
Hamas wrested control of Gaza and ousted the Palestinian Authority in 2007, drawing an Israeli-Egyptian blockade.