Palestinian information minister and spokesman of the Ramallah-based government , Riyad al-Maliki, said yesterday that his government has agreed with Egypt to connecting the Gaza Strip’s electricity lines with Egyptian ones, within a grand project.
Almaliki, who was speaking during a press conference in Ramallah, was quoted as saying that the project agreed upon will be make Gaza’s current lines with those of the nearby Egyptian city of aL-Arish, within an estimated distance of seven kilometers , depth into the Gaza Strip city of Rafah in southern Gaza.

The project, whose costs are estimated at 15 million dollars and funded by the Islamic Bank of Development, will be executed in two phases, al-Maliki clarified.

Implementation of such a project will commence upon the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s endorsement, the minister further noted.

If executed, the project will relieve the 1.5 million residents of the coastal region, who have been exposed to frequent blackouts since 2006, after Israel imposed a series of measures, beginning with bombarding the Gaza’s sole power plant in the summer of 2006 and ending with cutting of industrial-grade gasoline, needed to generate electricity at the plant.

The plant provides Gaza with 45 percent of its electrical currents, while Israel supplies the remaining amount.

Asked whether Hamas control of the Gaza Strip would hamper execution of the said project, al-Maliki believed that nothing could impede the implementation, as the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah signed the contract with the Islamic Bank of Development through Egypt.

In June2007, Hamas wrestled control over the coastal strip amidst factional infighting with the Fatah party of president Abbas. Abbas outlawed Hamas immediately and formed a caretaker government in the West Bank.