Israel allows more truckloads of goods into Gaza

Israel allows more truckloads of goods into Gaza
# 17 December 2013 04:22 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Israel doubled working hours on its lone commercial crossing point with the Gaza Strip to 12, a Palestinian official said Monday, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

Nazmi Mhana, a Palestinian border official, said Israel agreed to a request by the West Bank-based Palestinian National Authority (PNA) to increase the hours of Kerem Shalom crossing in southeast Gaza.

He said this extension aims to allow more truckloads of goods and fuel to enter Gaza on daily basis.

Last month, Israel allowed 4,350 truckloads into Gaza. The figure constitutes only 25 percent of the number of truckloads that were entering before Israel imposed a blockade on the coastal enclave in 2007, according to a report from the Palestinian ministry of economy.

The blockade was meant to isolate Hamas, the Islamic movement that has been controlling Gaza for more than six years.

Israel's approval came following an indirect agreement between Hamas and the PNA to ship fuel to Gaza's only power plant.

Qatar intervened and paid for the industrial diesel, ending a bitter round of finger-pointing between the Palestinian rivals. Hamas said that it can't afford to buy Israeli fuel due to the high tax the PNA imposes.

After access to Egyptian fuel that used to be smuggled in from Sinai dwindled, Hamas shut down its power plant on Nov. 1, leaving Gaza dependent on electricity purchased directly from Israel and Egypt, resulting in a 70 percent power outage.

The power plant resumed functioning Sunday with Qatari-paid fuel and Mhana said that 450,000 liters of diesel would enter Gaza on daily basis for two weeks.

Hamas officials say that Qatar is sending a ship loaded with fuel via an Israeli port in the coming days. The shipment can keep the power plant running for three months.