Fatah, Hamas Feud Boils Over – Gaza Electricity from Israel Suspended
Residents of the Gaza Strip are again set to be victims of the continually-spiraling animus between the Fatah and Hamas Palestinian factions after the Palestinian Authority officially informed Israel’s Coordinator of Government Affairs in the Territories that it would halt payments for electricity in the Gaza Strip. Some observers see the move as part of President Mahmoud Abbas’s efforts to regain control over Gaza, which was wrestled from Fatah in 2007. Since that time, Fatah has been purchasing a portion of the power used by Gazans from Israel as well as paying salaries for thousands of civil workers who lost their jobs to Hamas appointees. For its part, Hamas considers Abbas an illegitimate leader, arguing that his tenure expired some 5-years ago. Abbas, who will meet with President Trump at the White House next week, has lost patience with Hamas and in the estimation of most observers, is playing the economic card to force Hamas to return control of Gaza to Fatah. The electricity Gaza obtains from Israel’s electric company represents about 30% of the total usage. On Thursday, the World Bank issued a report ahead of a conference of nations that contribute to the Palestinian Authority that concluded fuel shortages and insufficient infrastructure are creating a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. A normal day in Gaza includes electric power for about four hours.