Gaza has been experiencing a severe electricity crisis since mid-April, when the Gaza Power Plant went silent due to a dispute between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas in Gaza over tax rates for the fuel needed at the plant.
On 18 May, an Israeli settler shot and killed a 23-years-old Palestinian man during a protest at Huwwara town (Nablus), and injured a Palestinian photographer, according to initial media reports.
Longstanding restrictions on the movement of people and goods to and from Gaza have undermined the living conditions of 1.9 million Palestinians in that area. Many of the current restrictions, originally imposed by Israel in the early 1990s, were intensified after June 2007, following the Hamas takeover of Gaza and the imposition of a blockade. These restrictions continue to reduce access to livelihoods, essential services and housing, disrupt family life, and undermine people’s hopes for a secure and prosperous future. The situation has been compounded by the restrictions imposed since June 2013 by the Egyptian authorities at Rafah Crossing, which had become the main crossing point used by Palestinian passengers in the Gaza Strip, given the above restrictions on the Israeli-controlled crossings.
Unless additional funds are provided, fuel reserves for the 186 most critical health, water and sanitation facilities in the Gaza Strip will be exhausted in June.
The Gaza Power Plant, which shut down on 17 April after exhausting its fuel reserves, has remained not operational through the end of the reporting period. Additionally, on 24 April, electricity supply from Egypt came to halt due to a malfunctioning of the lines, which has yet to be repaired. With electricity being supplied only from Israel, power cuts of 20-22 hours a day continued during the period, severely undermining the already precarious living conditions. To avoid further deterioration, on 27 April the oPt Humanitarian Fund allocated US$ 500,000 for the purchase of emergency fuel to maintain the delivery of essential services at hospitals and other emergency medical facilities.
The UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities, Robert Piper, expressed concern about the deteriorating energy situation in the Gaza Strip and called for swift action from Israeli and Palestinian authorities and members of the international community to protect the provision of critical basic services to Gaza’s 1.9 million residents.
On 17 April, Gaza’s sole power plant (GPP) was forced to shut down completely after exhausting its fuel reserves and being unable to replenish them due to a shortage of funds. Prior to this, the GPP was operating at only approximately half of its capacity, producing nearly 30 per cent of the electricity supplied to the Gaza Strip. On 20 April, electricity supply from Egypt, which accounts for 15 per cent of Gaza’s supply, also came to a halt due to technical malfunctioning that is yet to be repaired. Gaza is currently supplied only with electricity purchased from Israel (some 55 per cent of the previous supply), resulting in electricity blackouts of 20 hours per day, up from 12 hours previously, further undermining the delivery of basic services.
An Israeli soldier and a British woman were killed in two separate Palestinian attacks. On 6 April, a 22-year-old Palestinian man ran his car into Israeli soldiers standing at a bus stop near Ofra settlement (Ramallah), killing one soldier and injuring another; the perpetrator was later arrested by Israeli forces. This brings the number of Israelis killed by Palestinians since the beginning of 2017 to five, all of which were soldiers. Also, on 14 April, a 57-year-old Palestinian man, reportedly mentally ill, stabbed and killed a 21-year-old British student while travelling on the Israeli light train near the Old City of Jerusalem, and was subsequently arrested.
Longstanding restrictions on the movement of people and goods to and from Gaza have undermined the living conditions of 1.9 million Palestinians in that area. Many of the current restrictions, originally imposed by Israel in the early 1990s, were intensiﬁed after June 2007, following the Hamas takeover of Gaza and the imposition of a blockade. These restrictions continue to reduce access to livelihoods, essential services and housing, disrupt family life, and undermine people’s hopes for a secure and prosperous future.
Approximately 4,000 displaced families in the Gaza Strip have not been allocated any funding for the reconstruction of their homes. Severe access restrictions place some 2,000 Palestinians in the settlement area of Hebron city at risk of forcible transfer. New measures aimed at revoking the residency rights of family members of perpetrators of attacks in East Jerusalem raise concerns over collective punishment. Outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease, which affected over 100 livestock farms in the Gaza Strip, has been largely controlled.