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Cablegate: Gaza: Some Fuel Shipments; Rafah Remains Open

VZCZCXRO0085
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #0126/01 0241514
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 241514Z JAN 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0331
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 2256
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 000126

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: SOME FUEL SHIPMENTS; RAFAH REMAINS OPEN

REF: A. JERUSALEM 122

B. JERUSALEM 111

1. (SBU) Summary: Shipments of fuel continued on January 24
at the Nahal Oz fuel transfer station. The Gaza Power Plant
reduced output to 45 MW on January 23 to save fuel, causing
renewed power shortages throughout Gaza City and spurring
hospitals to use their power generators. A growing number of
water and sewage pumps are down due to a lack of fuel, and an
estimated 40 percent of Gaza's population is without running
water on January 24. No humanitarian shipments passed
through Kerem Shalom crossing, which was closed on January
24. The Gaza-Egypt border at Rafah remains open to
Palestinians moving in and out of Gaza. End summary.

Some Fuel Shipments Made
------------------------

2. (SBU) Director of the Palestinian Petroleum Corporation
in Gaza Mujahid Salama told Econoff that the following fuel
transfers were made at the Nahal Oz transfer station on
January 24:
- Industrial fuel for Gaza Power Plant - 315,000 liters
- Diesel fuel - 120,000 liters
- Gasoline - 20,000 liters
- Cooking gas - 250 tons

3. (SBU) Vice Chairman of the Gaza Petroleum and Gas Station
Owners Association Mahmoud Khozendar told Econoff on January
24 that his membership has continued to refuse to make diesel
fuel deliveries within Gaza, as the fuel shipments have been
for UNRWA and PA hospitals use only (ref B). The January 24
receipt of 120,000 liters of diesel fuel at Nahal Oz was
destined for use at UNRWA facilities and PA hospitals, but
the shipment was moved to a storage facility on the Gaza side
of Nahal Oz together with the January 22 diesel shipment of
250,000 liters.

4. (SBU) Gaza-based NGO contacts said that Kerem Shalom
crossing was closed on January 24, while 10 truckloads of aid
from Jordan passed through Sufa crossing.

Power Plant Reduces Output
--------------------------

5. (SBU) Gaza Power Plant Project Manager Rafiq Maliha told
Econoff on January 24 that he decided to reduce the Plant's
power output from 65 MW to 45 MW on January 23, in order to
save fuel. He said that the Israeli fuel company Dor told
him that they had received instructions from the Israel
Ministry of Defense to deliver another 315,000 liters of
industrial fuel on January 25. If the January 25 shipment is
made, the Plant will have enough fuel to produce 45 MW until
January 27.

Health Care Professionals
Working Additional Hours
------------------------

6. (SBU) WHO National Health Officer in Gaza Mahmoud Daher
said on January 24 that major Gaza hospitals have been forced
to use their diesel fuel-powered generators since the Power
Plant reduced output on January 23 from 65 MW to 45 MW to
save fuel. Daher said that health care workers have worked
many extra hours in recent days to meet the growing needs of
Gaza patients, as electrically-driven machines are not used
when possible to save power.

Growing Problems With Pumps
---------------------------

7. (SBU) Gaza Coastal Municipalities Water Utility engineer
Monther Shoblak said on January 24 that the Gaza water and
sewage situation has grown much worse in the last 24 hours.
Shoblak estimated that 20 of 35 municipal sewage pumps are
not operating due to a lack of fuel (three others are down
and in need of spare parts). He told Econoff that that
roughly 85 of 138 municipal water pumps are down due to a
lack of fuel. Shoblak said that, since January 22, he has
had to allow 40,000 cubic meters per day of sewage to flow
into the sea, as operational pumps in Gaza City cannot move
all the sewage to wastewater treatment facilities.

JERUSALEM 00000126 002 OF 002

8. (SBU) Monther said that electric pumps in northern Gaza,
which rely on electricity from the Israel Electricity Company
(IEC), are not operating on January 24 due to a lack of
electricity. He added that he did not know how or why those
electricity flows had been cut. Monther estimated that 40
percent of Gaza residents are without running water in their
homes on January 24.

Border Open At Rafah
--------------------

9. (U) Press reports state that many thousands of
Palestinians continue to move freely in and out of Gaza at
the Gaza-Egypt border of Rafah. There continue to be no
effective border controls as of January 24, according to
local press reports.


WALLES

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