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Cablegate: Gaza: Limited Deliveries Continue; Humanitarian

VZCZCXRO9156
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #0122/01 0231555
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 231555Z JAN 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0324
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 2252
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 000122

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE; NEA/IPA FOR
GOLDBERGER/SHAMPAINE/BELGRADE; PRM FOR PRM/ANE; NSC FOR
ABRAMS/PASCUAL; TREASURY FOR SZUBIN/LOEFFLER/NUGENT/HIRSON;
BRUSSELS FOR LERNER; PLEASE PASS TO USAID FOR
KUNDER/MCCLOUD/BORODIN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID ECON KPAL KWBG PGOV PHUM
SUBJECT: GAZA: LIMITED DELIVERIES CONTINUE; HUMANITARIAN
PROBLEMS REMAIN; RAFAH CROSSING BREACHED

REF: JERUSALEM 111

1. (SBU) Summary: Limited truckloads of aid passed through
Kerem Shalom crossing on January 23. The Gaza Power Plant
received 200,000 liters of fuel oil on January 23, allowing
the Plant to generate electricity until January 26. Despite
the resumption of electricity, Gaza hospitals report
continuing problems and municipal authorities note water and
sanitation concerns due to the problems with pumps.
Explosives were used to break open barriers at the Gaza-Egypt
border, and thousands of Gazans rushed into Egypt. End
summary.

Limited Shipments of Fuel and Food
----------------------------------

2. (SBU) Director of the Palestinian Petroleum Corporation
in Gaza Mujahid Salama told Econoff that 200,000 liters of
industrial fuel were received and delivered to the Gaza Power
Plant on January 23. Mujahid said that the Israel fuel
company Dor had received orders that day from the Israeli
Ministry of Defense to limit the industrial fuel transfer to
200,000 liters - enough for the Plant to generate power for
12-24 hours. Salama said that 250 tons of cooking gas were
received and delivered on January 23, but that no amounts of
diesel or gasoline were received. He added that the 250,000
liters of diesel fuel transferred into Gaza at Nahal Oz on
January 22 remains in storage on the Gaza side of the
transfer station, as the Petroleum and Gas Station Owners
Association in Gaza refused to distribute the shipment
because the fuel was for the "exclusive use of UNRWA and PA
hospitals - not the Gaza public" (see ref).

3. (SBU) Gaza Power Plant Project Manager Rafiq Maliha told
Econoff on January 23 that the 200,000 liters of industrial
fuel shipped on that day will extend the Plant's output to
January 26, as the plant continues to produce 65 MW of
electricity. Maliha stressed that the shut-down of the
Plant's turbines is very costly and time consuming, as "lots
of fuel" and at least eight hours is needed to bring the
Plant's power production from "cold zero" to 65 MW.

4. (SBU) WFP Deputy Country Director Jacques Higgins told
Econoff that six WFP truckloads of aid passed through Kerem
Shalom crossing on January 23. He noted that one truckload
of WHO aid also passed through on January 23.

Mounting Deficiencies In Health Care Services
---------------------------------------------

5. (SBU) Gaza-based WHO National Health Officer Mahmoud
Daher told Econoff on January 23 that Gaza's health care
sector has become much less effective in treating Gaza's sick
in recent days, as fuel and electricity are running very low.
He noted the continued need for spare parts for health care
equipment; shortages of pharmaceutical drugs and disposables;
and the general deterioration of infrastructure, such as
elevators, heaters, cooling systems, plumbing systems, and
doors and windows. Daher noted the Gaza's neonatal care
rooms have lost power in recent days, spurring the hospitals
to develop contingency plans for newborns to be transported
to areas with power inside or outside of Gaza.

6. (SBU) Daher confirmed that electricity flow is back in
hospitals. However, he stressed that under conditions of
such uncertainty, effective health sector planning and
organization has been most difficult.

Municipal Water and Sewage Pumps Down
-------------------------------------

7. (SBU) Gaza Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU)
engineer Monther Shoblak told Econoff on January 23 that 15
of Gaza's 35 sewage pumps are not operating due to a lack of
fuel (an additional three are not operating due to a lack of
parts). Shoblack reported that 73 of Gaza's 138 water pumps
are not operating due to a lack of fuel. He noted that
roughly 90 percent of all CMWU water and sewage pumps are
driven by diesel fuel-powered generators, with the remaining
powered by electricity from the Gaza Power Plant and/or the
Israel Electricity Company (IEC). Shoblak estimated that, as

JERUSALEM 00000122 002 OF 002


of the afternoon hours of January 23 (local), 30 percent of
the Gaza population does not have running water in their
homes due to the lack of diesel fuel to power pumps.

8. (SBU) Shoblak said that he was forced to discharge into
the sea 45,000 cubic meters of sewage on January 22, as he
did not have enough fuel to pump all the sewage to wastewater
treatment plants. "I had to choose between sewage floods in
downtown Gaza or a sewage discharge into the sea," he
concluded. He expected that several more sewage pumps would
run out of fuel in the later hours of January 23.

Border Breached At Rafah
------------------------

9. (SBU) UN and security contacts report that &many
thousands8 of Palestinians crossed into Sinai starting early
January 23, when militants, with the permission of Hamas
border guards, blasted holes in the metal wall and concrete
blocks on the Gazan side of the Philadelphi Corridor and then
used heavy construction loaders to move debris and allow
large-scale foot traffic in and out of the Gaza Strip.
Contacts report that there were no effective border controls
as of 1500 local, and huge streams of Palestinians from Gaza
City and northern Gaza clogged the highway to Rafah,
desperate to obtain food and fuel from Egypt before border
controls are restored.

WALLES

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