Israel stops Qatari-donated fuel entering Gaza

Israel has ordered an immediate halt to a shipment of fuel donated by Qatar to the Gaza Strip, in response to heavy rioting and attacks along the separation fence.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Friday Israel will not allow any more fuel into the Strip until violence against Israel from the enclave stops all together.

Until violence in the Gaza Strip stops entirely, including the launching of incendiary balloons and the burning of tires near Israeli communities, the supply of fuel and gas to the Gaza Strip will not be renewed, Lieberman said in a Tweet.

The announcement on Friday follows the killing of seven Palestinians by Israeli forces during the ongoing March of Return protests.

The protests, which began in March, call for the return of Palestinian refugees to their historic homeland and an end to Gaza’s 11-year long blockade imposed by Israel.

To date, the protests have seen 205 Palestinians killed.

Tuesday saw a six trucks carrying 450,000 liters of fuel donated by Qatar enter Gaza in a UN-backed effort to ease conditions in the enclave and stem any escalation in Palestinian-Israeli violence.

Hamas spokesman, Hazem Qassem told AFP news agency on Tuesday, “the Qatari fuel to the Gaza Strip’s power plant today is aimed at partially improving electricity (supply) in Gaza.”

On average, Gazan residents receive only four hours of mains electricity each day.

According to Al Jazeera, the $60m fuel donation by Qatar meant to provide the power plant with enough fuel to operate for six months.

A Qatari official told Reuters news agency that Doha’s intention was to assist with Gaza’s power crisis at the request of donor states in the United Nations, to prevent an escalation of the existing humanitarian disaster.

The crippling blockade has seen Gaza’s two-million residents deprived of vital goods entering the Strip, including food, fuel and medicine.

The Palestinian Government have also voiced their disapproval at the Qatari donated fuel as coordination with the Palestinian Authority was bypassed.

A Spokesperson for Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah told Al Jazeera any aid directed to the Gaza Strip should be done in alignment with the Palestinian Authority.

“Any international financial aid to the Gaza Strip should be through, or with the coordination of, the Palestinian government,” he said, in order “to preserve Palestinian unity” and to stop any plans to separate Gaza from the West Bank.

Al Jazeera also reported Azzam al-Ahmad, a senior official close to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, threatened retaliatory measures if the fuel deliveries continued, in a statement on Tuesday.

Source: Palestine Monitor