Owners of the Palestinian petrol stations located in the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem continued their strike on Monday and refused to refuel cars.The strike started on Thursday, Michael Awad, a petrol station owner in the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem said, adding that the main reason for the strike, because the Israeli fuel companies refused to conitnue to provide fuel to the Gas stations in the area through the checkpoint between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Instead they demanded that the petrol owners go to the Tarqumia crossing located in the southern West bank city of Hebron.
Awad added that this new system will first, add sipping of the fuel from the Tarqumia checkpoint to Bethlehem, which will, in turn, raise the fuel prices to the customers. Second, the same amount of fuel that Bethlehem used to consume per week will be split between Bethlehem and Hebron areas, leaving the two cities short of their needed fuel supply.
Palestinians pay 1.7 USD for one liter, (1 Gallon is 3.7854 Liters), which is one of the most expensive commodity, and will be a scarce one if this plan is implemented.
Kamel el-Badan, a taxi driver in Bethlehem told IMEMC that the strike has led him to stop working, because there is no fuel in Bethlehem and to refill his car with fuel he has to drive a long distance to an Israeli gas station that is outside Bethlehem to refuel.
Palestinian residents believe that the Tarqumia arrangement is part of the plans presented by the former British Prime Minister and the current envoy of the Quartet committee Tony Blair.
Blair offered his plan that included the Tarqumia crossing in late 2007 as a plan to support the Palestinian economy, since the plan involves building industrial and free trade zone in the west Bank.
Awad concluded by saying that the strike will continue until the Israeli companies start sending fuel to Bethlehem through the regular crossing.