The Hamas terror organization is staging a situation of crisis and distress, and harming the civilian population in the Gaza Strip in an attempt to divert pressure onto Israel.

(Communicated by the Coordination and Liaison Administration, Erez)

Colonel Nir Press, Head of the Coordination and Liaison Administration: "The State of Israel has permitted the steady and continuous flow of fuel into the Gaza Strip in recent weeks."

2,200,000 liters of diesel fuel are transferred through the Nahal Oz fuel terminal to the Gaza Strip power plant weekly. This power plant is capable of supplying 30% of the total electricity requirements of the Gaza Strip. The remaining power needs are supplied by Israel and Egypt. In addition, unlimited quantities of cooking gas, 800,000 liters of diesel fuel for transportation and 75,000 liters of gasoline are transferred weekly.

The gasoline and diesel fuel transferred by Israel is designated primarily for use by ambulances, water pumps, the sewage system, for the operation of generators at various institutions such as hospitals, schools and clinics, for agricultural use, transportation, school buses, food trucks, garbage collection, public transportation, shipping boats, food plants, bakeries, and so on.

Col. Press stated that it has become apparent in recent weeks that the Palestinians are staging an energy crisis while instigating a strike and protest rallies. The closed filling stations, the long lines of people and vehicles waiting many hours to fill their tanks, are all part of a planned Hamas media campaign being conducted at the expense of the civilian population – a crisis caused by their failure to pump available fuel supplies from the Nahal Oz Palestinian fuel depot. 

Col. Press further stated that "In the last two weeks there were no restrictions on freely pumping fuel from the Palestinian depot at Nahal Oz and distributing it to filling stations, but this did not take place. In contrast, cooking gas and diesel fuel for the power station have been supplied on a regular basis. As of today, the Palestinian stock of fuel amounts to 188,000 liters of gasoline and over 800,000 liters of diesel fuel."

The Hamas organization is intentionally harming the civilian population in the Gaza Strip by not allowing the supply of fuel for humanitarian purposes, and preventing the distribution of fuel to civilian filling stations. In the weeks preceding this development, a substantial share of the fuel supplies – almost half – was diverted for use by the Hamas terror organization and its operatives.

The murderous attack on 9 April 2008 at the Nahal Oz fuel terminal, in which two civilian workers at the terminal, Oleg Lipson and Lev Cherniak, were killed, constitutes additional testimony to the terror from the Gaza Strip directed at Israel, at the crossings which serve the Palestinians, and at Israeli civilians working for Palestinian welfare, while attempting to create a crisis and to harness Palestinian public opinion against Israel as part of this campaign.

The cynical use of the Palestinian population, as well as the stoppage of the supply of fuel for civilian and humanitarian use, could have been prevented by drawing the available fuel from the depot at the Palestinian terminal and directing it to humanitarian/civilian needs and to local filling stations, for the benefit of the residents of Gaza.