Tonight at 8pm the Gaza Power Generating Company (GPGC) will turn off entirely its power plant for lack of fuel. This will have wide-scale and dramatic consequences for the 1.5 million inhabitants of Gaza who depend on electricity for daily life and heating in the particularly harsh winter, but also for water supply and wastewater treatment. Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi MP, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative, declared that “Israel’s actions are criminal, illegal and immoral and in blatant violation of all principles of international law.”
The Gaza power plant, which can produce up to 65 megawatts of electricity, has been crippled by fuel cuts since last October and never really functioned at full capacity. On January 4 the GPGC emergency fuel reserves were depleted and the plant became entirely dependent on the insufficient daily imports allowed by Israel. The new Israeli decision to entirely cut the fuel supply will lead to the complete stop of electricity production in Gaza. Already one of the two turbines was stopped at noon today.
Gazans have been living with prolonged electricity cuts since October, but the prospect of a full blackout brings terrible consequences. Water cannot be pumped above ground level without electricity, raw sewage will be sent directly into the sea, damaging the coastline in Gaza, Egypt and Southern Israel, and emergency generators in hospitals will be put under immense strain. Since Israel prevents any spare parts from entering the Strip, emergency generator failures become more likely and will bear lethal consequences for numerous patients.
Dr. Barghouthi expressed his distress at the situation of the people of Gaza, and his outrage at the Israeli behaviour: “the Israeli government cuts off electricity in Gaza while the Israeli military attacks relentlessly, killing 38 in less than a week, and at the same time the Israeli spokespersons are downplaying the situation, pretending that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The crisis in Gaza has now peaked, Israel has pushed the people there over the edge.”
Dr. Barghouthi called for an immediate intervention by all states party to the 4th Geneva Convention to fulfil their obligations under international law and stop the Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.
Dr. Barghouthi also invited all concern citizens worldwide to stand in solidarity with Palestinians and to push their governments to take immediate action to lift the siege on Gaza.