OCHA holds PA responsible for Gaza power crisis

OCHA holds PA responsible for Gaza power crisis

The UN office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs (OCHA) held the Palestinian authority (PA) in Ramallah responsible for Gaza electricity crisis, saying that the PA refrained from paying for industrial fuel used to operate the only power plant in the Gaza Strip.

In its weekly report, the OCHA noted that since the European union’s commitment to fund fuel for the Gaza power plant expired in November 2009, the PA in Ramallah has assumed responsibility for funding.

It said that there are 40,000 people, who live without electricity at all times due to damage incurred to electricity networks during the Israeli military aggression on Gaza.

According to its report, the Gaza energy authority warned that fuel reserves are available for a few additional days and, if no more fuel is delivered in the next days, the power plant will completely shut down.

Regarding the Gaza valley flood, the report said that the total number of people affected by the flood is estimated at approximately 140 households or 800 persons, who only received basic emergency assistance including food and non-food items from various agencies, including the Palestinian Red Crescent, the ministry of social affairs in Gaza, and several NGOs and local associations.

The report highlighted the Israeli violations in the West Bank, saying that during this week, the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) injured 12 Palestinians throughout the West Bank, which bring the total number of Palestinians injured since the beginning of 2010 to 53.

In the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, the report said, Israeli settlers evicted 53 Palestinian residents and moved into their homes during one week and physically assaulted five Palestinians, two of them were injured.

It pointed out to an incident in which Israeli settlers used their “price tag” strategy, where they stormed the village of Beitillu in Ramallah and attacked the Palestinian villagers after the Israeli occupation authorities dismantled a structure serving as a synagogue in Givat Menachem settlement outpost.

In a report issued in November 2009, the OCHA identified the Beitillu village as one of the Palestinian communities vulnerable to settler violence in the context of the “price tag” strategy.

In a separate incident, settlers from Bracha settlement in Nablus entered the nearby village of Iraq Burin and attacked the residents, after which the IOF arrived at the area and fired tear gas and rubber-coated metal bullets to disperse the settlers and the Palestinians who had to defend themselves.

During the week, settlers from Hallamish settlement also cut down 20 olive trees belonging to a Palestinian farmer from Deir Nidham village in Ramallah.

In recent weeks, there have been regular demonstrations protesting the expansion of Hallamish settlement on Deir Nidham lands that have resulted in clashes between Palestinians, the Israeli settlers and the IOF.

Also during the week, there were four incidents of stone-throwing by Israeli settlers at Palestinians driving vehicles on roads near settlements in Ramallah, Nablus and Al-Khalil areas, resulting in no injuries or damage to vehicles.

During the week, a Palestinian graveyard was vandalized by Israeli settlers escorted by IOF troops in the village of Awarta in Nablus and offensive graffiti was sprayed in Hebrew, English and Russian inside the village.

The report also noted that the Israeli civil administration distributed demolition and stop work orders against 17 Palestinian-owned structures in area C of the West Bank at the pretext of unlicensed construction.