Possible outrage in the Gaza Strip

  • Posted on: 4 July 2017

Gaza’s sole power plant was shut-down on April 17th, as the fuel reserves were consumed. Debates are still ongoing between PA and Hamas on fuel tax exemption and revenue collection from electricity consumers. According to the ICRC, Gaza is on the verge of a “systemic collapse”.

The Palestinian Authority has been paying the Israeli Authorities to supply Gaza with electricity until April in which the PA declared payments will stop, while in May, the Israeli Authorities reduced the electricity provided to Gaza.

Electricity in Gaza is currently running 4 hours every day as the power plant is not consistently fueled. Hospitals run on low-capacity, medical services and surgeries have been minimized and critical ones postponed as medical teams cannot risk operating with an inconsistent electricity supply, and the backup generators are on the verge of collapse. 

Some medical cases were referred to other hospitals, however treatment is not assured, many patients were denied leaving Gaza for treatment and Rafah crossing opens only occasionally yet it remained closed the entire month of April.

Ismail Radwan, a Hamas Official stated: "It's illogical that Gaza is besieged and deprived of electricity, water and basic needs for the sake of political prices."

Since the election of Yehya Sinwar as Chief leader of Hamas in Gaza and the assassination of Mazen Fuqaha’ in March, political analysts began speaking of a possible war in the horizon. According to sources, the Shin Bet and ISF internally debated the possibility of an outrage in Gaza especially now with the humanitarian situation deteriorating, as electricity and water are running scarce, the pressures imposed by the Palestinian Authority on Hamas to relinquish control over Gaza and a possible decline in financial support provided by Qatar after the diplomatic boycott the country faces, all these elements might push the situation to the brink of collapse in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli plan of building an underground concrete wall along the Gaza Strip border to counter Hamas’ tunnels will be in effect soon, which will expectedly spark a militarily reaction from Hamas’ end.

Even though Yehya Sinwar has been described as unyielding, he has also been described as a strategist and a practical thinker. Sinwar is expected to lead the movement towards its goal through a calculated strategy than to go into another war that will deepen Gaza’s crisis. Analysts argued that bettering relations with Egypt and the expectancy of revitalizing relations with Iran signifies that Hamas is not interested in a large-scale confrontation that might lead to a sidetrack of this course.

If Hamas in fact considers retaliation of Fuqaha’s assassination, it might have it carried out by other forms; attacks against Israelis might be launched from the West Bank rather than from Gaza, or it could aim at eliminating collaborators and informers only, as it has already begun doing.

Even though Hamas is disinclined to escalate the situation, the Israeli stance might differ; Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently at the throws of legal and political challenges especially from right-wing politicians such as Naftali Bennett, and practising force against the Gaza Strip would lessen criticism towards Netanyahu. An attack on the strip will also permit Israeli politicians to examine the extent of Trump’s support for Israeli military operations. Additionally, the Israeli authorities are inclined to pull Hamas away from a strategic stance to a militarily reaction, which give a better reason and excuse to continue the blockade on Gaza.

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