Israel will reduce electricity supplies to the Gaza Strip after the Palestinian Authority limited how much it pays for power to the enclave run by Hamas, Israeli officials said on Monday.
The decision by Israel’s security cabinet is expected to shorten by 45 minutes the daily average of four hours of power that Gaza’s 2 million residents receive from an electricity grid dependent on Israeli supplies, the officials said.
The West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA) blamed Hamas’s failure to reimburse it for electricity for the reduction in power supplies.
But PA spokesman Tareq Rashmawi coupled that explanation with a demand that Hamas agree to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s unity initiatives, which include holding the first parliamentary and presidential elections in more than a decade.
“We renew the call to the Hamas movement and the de facto government there to hand over to us all responsibilities of government institutions in Gaza so that the government can provide its best services to our people in Gaza,” he said.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Israel and the Palestinian Authority “will bear responsibility for the grave deterioration” in Gaza’s health and environmental situation.