Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hamas And Fatah Succeed Where Israel Failed: Close Gaza's Only Power Plant

In June 2006, Israel launched Operation Summer Rains in an attempt to both suppress the firing of rockets into Israel and to rescue the kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.

As a result of the Israeli operation, Gaza's only power plant was bombed--but that was only the beginning of the story, because it turned out that the plant was insured by a US government agency.

Even then, the issue was not that simple:

But paying a claim on the plant, which was insured for $48 million, could prove problematic for the United States, which cut off funding for all infrastructure projects in the Palestinian territories after the militant group Hamas won legislative elections in January.

Administration officials said the restrictions on working with a Hamas-led government could further complicate the repair of the electric facility, which could take weeks, if not months, to fix because of the escalating violence in Gaza.
Read the whole thing.

Even when one of the 2 investors in the power plant--Enron--went bankrupt, that did not stop the plant from being built, so it is not surprising that Israel could not bring the power plant to an end.

But then along comes Hamas and Fatah:
Officials say Gaza's only power plant has stopped operating because of a lack of fuel caused by the ongoing dispute between Palestinian political rivals.

Gaza's Islamic militant Hamas rulers and their Western-backed West Bank rivals have argued over who should pay for the fuel for the plant. The West Bank government has paid Israel for the fuel shipments to the plant but wants Hamas to cover at least some of it. Hamas rejects the demand.

Gaza also has other sources of electricity, and Friday's shutdown caused only limited power cuts. Still, Gazans have had to get used to rolling blackouts since 2006, when Israel bombed the power station after the capture of an Israeli soldier by Gaza militants.
With these kinds of intra-Palestinian shenanigans, is it possible that a second Palestinian state will cost the West even more than it does now?

Maybe the West should be asking itself that very question.

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NormanF said...

If this is how the Palestinians manage a power plant, how are they going to run their own state? After 17 years of autonomy, even the basics such as looking after essential services for the population still eludes them.

Daled Amos said...

As long as Israel can be blamed in some way, it is not just the Palestinians who can avoid responsibility for their failures--those countries who give them financial and other backing can avoid responsibility for their choices as well.