The Israeli cabinet decided Sunday to respond to the request of Palestinian Authority (PA) and reduce the supply of electricity to the Gaza Strip, Haaretz Hebrew newspaper revealed.
An Israeli official told the daily Haaretz that the cabinet had accepted the recommendation of the Israeli army not to ease Gaza siege and to cut the supply at the request of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
The Israeli official said that during the cabinet meeting, IOF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, the head of military intelligence Hertzi Halevy and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Major General Yoav Mordechai described the conditions in the Gaza Strip as worsening, but still welcomed the pressure on Hamas even while warning that a cut in the power supply might lead to “escalation on the Gaza front”.
Mordechai, said the official, recommended adopting a policy that is not contrary to that of Abbas.
The PA has been paying 40 million shekels ($11.3 million) a month for 125 megawatts of power supply for Gaza, but recently said it was now only prepared to pay for 20-25 million shekels ($7 million) a month for electricity to Gaza.
Following the Palestinian decision last month, Mordechai had said he would cut the Gaza supply. But Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz’s stepped in to say that Israel would make the decision based on its own priorities and does not take orders from the PA.
Steinitz took another jab at Mordechai during the meeting Sunday, reiterating that he did not take orders from Abbas, to which Mordechai reportedly retorted sarcastically that he “salutes Abbas.”
“The discussion really emphasized the trap we are in when it comes to Gaza,” the official told Haaretz. “On the one hand, we want to work with Abbas and not ease pressure on Hamas, on the other hand everything falls on us.”
(Source / 12.06.2017)