Israel cuts fuel, Gaza goes dark

Flame and smoke rise from landscape in the dark

Flame and smoke rise as a result of an Israeli air strike in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on 16 August.

Ashraf Amra APA images

The Gaza Strip’s only power plant shut down on Tuesday after Israel stopped the transfer of fuel to the territory.

The halting of fuel transfers is among a series of collective punishment measures Israel has imposed on Gaza.

Israel has claimed the measures are a response to incendiary balloons released from Gaza. The launching of such balloons by some Palestinians is, in reality, a symbolic effort to draw attention to the deteriorating situation in Gaza, long subject to an Israeli siege.

Although incendiary balloons caused several fires in Israel, “no injuries or damage have been reported,” according to The Jerusalem Post.

Israel has also bombed Gaza on an almost a daily basis over the past week.

Two million Palestinians in Gaza have been under a lethal Israeli siege for the past 13 years. Israel subjects the territory to bombing whenever its people resist or protest collective punishment measures.

It is a vicious cycle that only Israel can stop.

The availability of electricity in Gaza stood at about 10 to 11 hours before further restrictions. It is expected to drop over the next several days to four consecutive hours per day, followed by 14 to 16 hour cuts.

Hospitals and factories

The Israeli human rights group Gisha warned that hospitals, schools, workshops and quarantine facilities will all be impacted by fuel cuts.

While most hospitals in the Strip are supplied with 24-hour electricity through the main power plant, Gisha says it is unclear if that will be sustained.

Gaza’s health ministry warned that power outages at hospitals would “have serious repercussions on the lives of premature babies in nurseries and intensive care and kidney failure patients.”

Israel’s fuel ban will also affect factories in Gaza, where the economy has already been all but destroyed by 13 years of blockade and repeated military assaults.

The head of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions said that factories and workshops are expected to operate at less than 20 percent capacity by relying on generators.

Quarantine facilities in Gaza, which are currently housing some 2,000 people, will also have no more than four hours a day of electricity.

Israel announced on Sunday that it would entirely prohibit fishers from sailing off Gaza’s coast, having already imposed tightened restrictions last week.

Gaza’s fishing industry is crucial to its economy, with tens of thousands of Palestinians dependent on it.

Last week, Israel closed the Kerem Shalom checkpoint, the sole point of transfer for commercial goods in and out of Gaza, for all but the transfer of “vital humanitarian aid.”

Bombing school

Since the beginning of August, Israeli warplanes have bombarded the Gaza Strip with air strikes on agricultural land and what Israel claims are Hamas posts.

Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesperson for Hamas, which runs Gaza’s internal affairs, assigned Israeli occupation forces “the full responsibility” for the “results and repercussions” of the tightening of the siege and cutting of the fuel.

Last week, Israeli warplanes struck a school in Gaza City run by UNRWA, the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees, causing damage and disrupting school activities.

“How can a school surrounded by three UN schools and a UN health center and considerable distance to known military sites be hit by accident?” Matthias Schmale, who heads the agency in Gaza, asked on Twitter.

Students were evacuated from the school, and police teams are working to remove remnants of the missile from campus, according to Al Mezan, a human rights group based in the territory.

Israel’s constant restrictions and bombardment constitutes collective punishment, Gisha said on Tuesday. Collective punishment is a violation of article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and therefore a war crime.

“Israel must immediately reverse these illegal measures of collective punishment and stop deliberately violating the fundamental human rights of Gaza’s residents,” Gisha stated.

Israel’s blockade of Gaza has turned it into a sealed ghetto.

While insisting that it “disengaged” from Gaza in 2005, Israel still controls the maritime, aerospace and land borders of the coastal enclave.

While always cruel, the effects of Israel’s actions are even worse during a pandemic.

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When it comes to Gaza, no depths seem too deep for the sociopathic Zionist regime to plumb. In the face of reports of this kind of depravity, words fail........

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And if you comment on this as a member of the UK Labour Party you are likely to be expelled as an antisemite. It's apparently bringing the Party into disrepute to comment on the despicable acts of the Israeli State. On the other hand, the agencies of the Israelis in the UK can effectively control what the Labour can do and even what its members are permitted to discuss. Such is the way the Zionists exert control. The conflation Israel/Jewish/Judaism means any criticism of Israel can quickly be inflated into full-blown antisemitism, as if to comment on the injustice inflicted on the people of Gaza makes you a Nazi. Make no mistake, this tactic works. With the compliance of the UK media, the Zionists have managed to convince the British public that the Labour Party is "institutionally antisemitic" though there is no serious evidence to uphold the claim. What is happening in Gaza causes outrage across the world, which is why the Zionists have to spread the lie that anti-Zionism, or even, pro-Palestinism, are antisemitic. It is claimed that Zionist bodies are putting pressure on Facebook to treat criticism of Israel as a hate crime. This will only escalate as world opposition to Israel's racist policies increases. The more the world demands justice, the more the Zionists will cry "Antisemitism". Ultimately, there strategy is suicidal, but in the meantime we have to explain over and over the difference between hating Jews and opposing the unjust actions of Israel and its Zionist apologists. They will sow all the confusion they can and, unfortunately, stupid and cowardly people in the Labour Party will go along with them.

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Frank Dallas is almost undoubtedly correct about the British Labour Party. Fortunately, I can't be expelled from an organisation to which I've never belonged. Rolling back the "Labour anti-Semitism" myth, however, is going to be a Sisyphean task for which that party's present hierarchy has neither the cojones nor the remotest inclination. The difficulties for anyone trying to refute accusations of anti-Semitism are compounded by the slavish, widespread adoption of the flawed IHRA "draft working definition + examples", which even its authors admit to be exactly that (a draft) and unfit for purpose. In the UK, the only push-back against this can come through the judicial system, if people like us are prosecuted for "hate speech" or incitement to racial hatred, for questioning the legality of Israel as a state in its present form, damning Zionism as a political creed or - Heaven forefend! - likening collective punishments of Palestinian communities to the behaviour of earlier occupiers, elsewhere; and if we have our day(s) in court to demonstrate the baseless inanity of conflating "apples" with "pears". Whether any partisan lobby has the ill-judgment to pressurise the prosecution service into so charging one or more critic(s) of Israel or its founding ideology remains to be seen.

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My heart aches for the unimaginable suffering that Palestinian people have been forced to endure. I'm sure they feel completely abandoned by the world, as they should. Whenever I try to inform people as to the situation in Gaza, all I get in return is the same old 'well there's been conflict in that region for thousands of years, there will always be conflict'. How do I even begin to respond to such ignorance. So we just continue to pay taxis and buying Sabra supporting systematic terrorism against an entire population, including children and elderly. It seems as though Americans cant even be bothered to concern themselves with the suffering of others, even though we are all complicit, while Palestinian children are picking up rocks against tanks, showing more character in that one moment than the majority of Americans do their entire lives.

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