David Milipand, the British Minister of Foreign Affairs and Douglas Alexander, the British Minister of International Development stated on Saturday that they are concerned over the effects of the Israeli fuel cuts on the population of the Gaza strip.
In a joint statement the ministers said that they have ‘deep concerns over the escalated restrictions Israeli is imposing on the fuel supplies going to Gaza’, they also had concerns over the humanitarian conditions in the coastal region the statement read.
The British officials condemned the Palestinian attack with home-made shells on the Israeli towns near Gaza but said that ‘stopping those attacks must not harm the basic needs of the residents of Gaza who have no relation with the firing of those shells.’
This week the Gaza Strip has begun to suffer a renewed blackout as power outages still go on due to a shortage of fuel supplies after Israel has ruled a large reduction of the fuel it provides Gaza with on a daily basis.
The sole Gaza power plant recently managed to bring one more power transformer from Egypt; however, the transformer can only generate half of the power due to cuts in fuel supplies. The coastal region needs at least 450,000 liters of fuel to produce 75 megawatts of power to overcome the current blackout.
To deal with this electricity crisis, the power plant had set up an operation schedule, to distribute the plant’s production to the various parts of the Gaza Strip. The electricity cuts range from 4 to 8 hours daily.
In October 2007, Israel started making large cuts to daily fuel supplies to Gaza, within what Israel says are ‘measures to prevent Palestinians from firing homemade shells onto nearby Israeli towns’.
Human rights groups worldwide branded the measure a ‘collective punishment policy’, as United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, has urged Israel to reconsider its actions against Gaza. In June 2006, Israeli aircraft struck the power plant, damaging four transformers out of the six which are used to provide Gaza with 45 percent of its electricity, the remaining quantities being provided by Israel.