Egyptian government cuts electricity to Palestinians as a result of their outstanding debt, leaving one Gazan to declare, “Even when we had the war with the Zionists, they did not cut off our power supply and water like el-Sissi the criminal.”
By Daniel Siryoti
Residents of Khan Younis and Rafah took to the streets Tuesday after Egypt had cut off power to parts of the southern Gaza Strip.
The Rafah border crossing. Egypt has recently stepped up its counter-terrorism operations in the area – Photo: AFP
The protesters vented their anger at Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and his government in light of reports that the decision to take parts of those towns off the grid was made by high-ranking officials in Egypt’s Ministry of Electricity and Energy. Egyptian media said the government resorted to that measure as a result of outstanding payments owed by a Palestinian utility company. The Palestinian government in the Gaza Strip cannot generate enough power on its own and has over the years had to rely on the Egyptian and Israeli grid.
As a result of ongoing power shortages, schools, hospitals and other institutions had to improvise. A senior official at the Palestinian Energy Ministry told Israel Hayom that healthcare facilities in the southern Gaza Strip had to rely on emergency generators but stressed that this was only a short-term remedy. According to the official, the Palestinian Authority has sent an urgent request to the Egyptian president’s bureau, asking el-Sissi to have power restored to the area. He added that without Egypt’s electricity, the area could descend into chaos.
The protesters said they were the unintended victims of the ongoing spat between Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and the Egyptian government, which considers it a terrorist organization because of its affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood. Some of them told Arab media that the suffering inflicted by Egypt was worse than the “Israeli blockade,” referring to the various restrictions Israel imposes on the Gaza Strip to prevent terrorist activity.
“Even when we had the war with the Zionists, they did not cut off our power supply and water like el-Sissi the criminal,” one Palestinian said. “El-Sissi’s government is worse than the Zionist occupation,” another one said.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s crackdown on Hamas’ terrorist infrastructure continues. Egyptian forces have demolished several homes on both sides of the border this week as part of their ongoing effort to curtail tunneling activity. Terrorists who wish to infiltrate into Sinai and join local jihadi groups often do so through cross-border tunnels, which are also used for illicit trade and arm smuggling. Dozens of Egyptian troops have been killed recently in clashes with Islamic terrorists in Sinai.
View original Israel Hayom publication at: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=24409