Saturday, October 31, 2020

While the lights are back in Gaza, car owners struggle to get on the road

By Marc Henry - November 05, 2018
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Gaza] [Gaza Blockade]

Recently, Gazan residents say they have received not less than 16 hours of power per day, a huge increase from the meagre four hours of electricity a day for the last couple of years, after fuel has been allowed into the Strip.

The improvement comes after an Israel-Hamas deal seems near to being accepted.
According to Asharq Al-Awsat, the agreement will allow Qatari fuel and salaries into Gaza in exchange for restoring calm in the Strip.
With the fuel agreement, in which first deliveries arrived on October 9, the results are already showing in the enclave’s beleaguered economy.
Companies are able to work longer, restaurants costs are falling and even an increase in the sale of ice cream.
The agreement is preliminary and temporary until a reconciliation deal is brokered between Fatah, the governing body of the West Bank, and Hamas movements.
It is expected that once the reconciliation deal is accepted a formal and long-term truce between Hamas and Israel can be signed.
According to the implemented parties, if the agreement lasts, it will be possible to implement humanitarian projects in the Gaza Strip.
Deputy Hamas Chief in Gaza, Khalil al-Hayya, suggested in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat that both Hamas and Israel had been making progress in achieving a ceasefire.
“Their success is becoming visible on the horizon,” he said.
“We are watching those promises to our people just as you are, the mediators are following up, and the occupation is being tested.”
While electricity seems to be on its way back in Gaza, the Palestinians still have to cope with other types of shortages.
According to Associated Press, six months of protests against an Israeli-Egyptian blockade have added car tyres to the list of shortages.
With tyres being a favoured item to set on fire and toss towards Israeli troops during the weekly protests, Israel has responded by halting tyre import into the Strip.
The move has sent prices skyrocketing and forcing Gaza motorists to find creative solutions to keep their vehicles on the road.
According to Rushdi Al Khour, head of the associations of Gaza spare parts merchants, the cost of a pair of tyres has jumped from $120 to $300 since the ban went into effect.
“This is a wrong decision by the Israeli side, he said.
“Lift the siege and the protests will stop.”
The tyre ban, however, has had no effect on the protesters, who rely on a seemingly endless supply of old ones.

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