Palestinian Authority to stop paying Israel for electricity used in Hamas-run Gaza

JTA

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Palestinian Authority will stop paying Israel for the electricity it provides to the Gaza Strip, which is run by the Hamas terror organization.

In a move seen as a way for the Palestinian Authority to pressure Hamas to relinquish control of Gaza, the P.A. informed the coordinator of government activities in the territories, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, on Thursday that it would stop the payments effective immediately. Hamas seized power in Gaza from the Palestinian Authority in 2007.

Israel provides Gaza with about 30 percent of its power at a cost of about $11 million a month, which comes out of the taxes that Israel collects for the Palestinian Authority. Egypt provides about 6 percent of Gaza’s power.

Gaza already suffers from a severe power shortage, with residents only receiving electricity for a few hours a day. The World Bank said Thursday that the power cuts have led to a “humanitarian crisis” in Gaza.

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Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri called the decision “a dangerous escalation and a fit of insanity” and blamed Israel.

“We warn Israel against taking this move,” he said, according to The Times of Israel.

Private individuals or international donors will be needed to restore electric power to Gaza, though none have stepped forward.

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