The Israeli Transnational Corporation fuel company will not deliver
fuel to West Bank cities until the Palestinian Authority pays its debt
of hundreds of millions of shekels.  But with the U.S.-led diplomatic
and economic boycott since January, the PA has no chance of paying its
debt, resulting in a two-day rush for fuel throughout the West Bank.

This decision is a repeat from January 2006 just after the Palestinian Legislative elections when the Israeli company stopped delivering fuel to the West Bank for a period of time.  It comes at a desperate time for Palestinians and does not seem to follow any logic, but is instead part of the many other seemingly random, but harsh measures taken by the Israeli government.  Some locals say that this decision is part of the Israeli siege against the Palestinian people. Others say it was organized to intensify public sector strikes and heighten the Palestinian economic crisis.

According to a petrol station owner in Jenin, diesel and gasoline reserves started running out Tuesday afternoon when news of the fuel cut spread from city to city. "There is a severe crisis and people are using any means they have to stock up," the owner said.

The combination of the worsening political, economic and social situation in the Occupied Territories makes any move on the part of the Israelis absolutely devastating for the Palestinians.

People are starving, people are fighting, they have no work, no freedom of movement, very few rights; the apartheid wall has strangled their economy and society, they are humiliated and sometimes beat up at Israeli checkpoints on a daily basis, their homes are searched, belongings ransacked, and children shot on a daily basis; their cities are invaded, land is confiscated, generations old olive trees destroyed, and now they cannot put fuel in their cars. 

A Jenin taxi driver called Jamal told PNN, "Thus, the siege is complete. The closure, unemployment and salary stoppage was not enough until we lost our gasoline. How will we manage under these circumstances?"

The Director of the Petroleum Authority in Jenin, Hussam Arqowi, commented that the decision to "stop pumping is a result of the financial problem. But to take such a drastic measure is entirely unnecessary."

Sourced from PNN