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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Qatar to supply Gaza’s only power plant with fuel


The Gulf state had pledged $60 million in February this year to establish a pipeline from the Israeli-occupied Palestine to the besieged Gaza strip.

The Qatari Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza signed a memorandum of understanding [MoU] with several Palestinian bodies on Sunday to supply the besieged Gaza strip with much-needed fuel.

According to the committee’s statement, the agreement was signed between the Qatari side and the Palestinian Energy and Natural Resources Authority as well as the Gaza Power Generating Company [GPGC].

The head of Qatar’s Gaza Reconstruction Committee, Ambassador Mohammed Al Emadi noted that the agreement focused on the mechanisms of supplying the Palestinian enclave with gas and purchasing the necessary fuel to operate its only power plant.

“Under the memorandum of understanding, the Qatari committee will finance the construction of the gas pipeline from the supplier company to the borders of the Gaza Strip at an estimated cost of $60 million,” added the statement.

Furthermore, the Qatari envoy stated that all sides are going to begin using gas fuel as an alternative to liquid fuel.

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In February this year, the Qatari committee pledged $60 million to finance a project aimed at supplying Gaza with gas to help resolve its ongoing electricity crisis by transferring gas from Israeli-controlled Palestine.

The agreement aims to increase the power plant’s production capacity to reach at least 500 megawatts to provide adequate electricity supply to the city.

In June, Qatar-funded fuel entered the Gaza Strip to power the city’s electricity station for the first time since the May ceasefire. This was under a UN framework per an agreement between the UNOPS [United Nations Office for Project Services] and Doha.

But just a few months later, in November, the Palestinian energy authority said that Qatari fuel supply had stopped reaching Gaza, placing it at risk of even more power outages. The halt was due to Israeli restrictions which limited the entry of Qatari fuel to the Strip.

Gaza seige 

Gaza has been suffering from an illegal Israeli land, air and sea blocked since 2006, which has placed over two million Palestinians under inhumane conditions that have been further exacerbated by four major wars on the strip, the latest being Israel’s attacks in May of this year.

Under the 11 day bombardment, Israel killed 256 Palestinians including 66 children.

Qatar had pledged $500 million to rebuild the residential units destroyed in the recent Israeli bombardment. To date, over 1,600 houses have been restored and rebuilt by Qatar Charity in the besieged Gaza Strip.

According to the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories [B’tselem], the entire population in Gaza requires at least 600 megawatts of electricity to ensure that it gets a 24/7 supply.

However, Palestinians living in the besieged area only receive 180 megawatts, of which 120 are directly from Israel. These are carried through 10 power lines and 60 others from Gaza’s power plant, funded by Qatar.

As a result of the limited access, residents receive electricity in eight-hour rotations and suffer in the winter cold with no power, sometimes for up to 12 hours.

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Israel also controls up to 90% of water sources and figures show just 10.5% of Palestinians in Gaza have access to safe drinking water.

More than 96% of water in Gaza’s aquifers is not safe for consumption, forcing Palestinians to buy water at inflated prices.

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