Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip suffer from a power shortage, with a daily supply received in eight-hour rotations.
Qatar confirmed plans to establish a natural gas pipeline to double Gaza’s daily electricity supply, Doha’s envoy to the strip, Mohammed Al-Emadi announced on Sunday.
“The project will help increase electric power to 400 megawatts, which is twice the current amount,” Al-Emadi told the Palestinian news agency Sama News. “This will help solve the electricity problem in the Gaza Strip.”
The project is expected to be completed in two sections – one in the besieged Gaza Strip and the other in an area occupied by Israel, the official noted. Two contracts were signed for the pipeline project – one for the purchase of gas between the Palestinian Authority and Delek Company and another for installing the pipelines.
The European Union also contributed some $5 million to install gas pipelines from the Gaza border to the power plant.
“The EU has been discussing a project that will provide the required infrastructure on the Palestinian side to deliver gas to the Gaza power plant with the Palestinian Authority, Qatar, and Israel,” he said.
A team including employees from the Qatari Committee for the Reconstruction of the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority has been formed to complete the pipeline project contracts within six months.
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According to the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories [B’tselem], the entire population of the Gaza Strip requires at least 600 megawatts of electricity to ensure that it gets a 24/7 supply.
However, Palestinians living in the besieged area only receive 180 megawatts, of which 120 are directly from Israel through 10 power lines and 60 from Gaza’s power plant, also funded by Qatar.
As a result of the limited access, residents receive electricity in eight-hour rotations and suffer in the heat with no power, sometimes for up to 12 hours.
Israel also withholds fuel from the power plants, further limiting electricity to millions of residents and hospitals that are already struggling with the global coronavirus health crisis.
Last year, Israel stopped the fuel supply by closing the crossings with Gaza, causing the power plant to shut down within at least a week. This further reduced the strip’s power supply until it was re-opened in September.
The dire situation and limited access to electricity has been ongoing for decades, but the situation worsened since the 2006 Israeli bombardment on Gaza, which destroyed the area’s power plant.
Israel controls up to 90% of water sources and figures show just 10.5% Palestinians in Gaza have access to safe drinking water.
More than 96% of water in Gaza’s aquifers are not safe for consumption, forcing Palestinians to buy water at inflated prices despite their full right to access it for free.
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