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Cablegate: Gaza Electricity Flows; Hamas Intimidation Grows

VZCZCXRO9390
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #1764 2361438
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 241438Z AUG 07
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8788
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY

UNCLAS JERUSALEM 001764

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE; NEA/IPA FOR
WILLIAMS/SHAMPAINE/BELRADE; PRM FOR PDAS GREENE AND
PRM/ANE; NSC FOR ABRAMS/WATERS; 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 ENRG KPAL KWBG PHUM
SUBJECT: GAZA ELECTRICITY FLOWS; HAMAS INTIMIDATION GROWS

REF: JERUSALEM 1735

1. (SBU) Summary: The Gaza power plant received EU-funded
fuel shipments on August 22 and returned to its normal 65 MW
of electricity output. According to Gaza contacts, most
homes now have 18-22 hours of electricity each day.
The electricity shortage from August 19-21 resulted in
spoiled food, limited medical care, and a relative halt in
economic activity. At the same time, however, Gaza-based
contacts report that Hamas forces are interfering more in the
daily lives of Gazans. End summary.

Power Back On
-------------

2. (SBU) EU-funded fuel shipments resumed on August 22
following an agreement by the PA and the EU to appoint an
external auditor to review the physical and financial systems
in place to prevent Hamas from diverting utility revenues,
and most Gazan homes are receiving electricity 18-22 hours
per day. From August 19-21, Gaza relied on electricity
supply from Israel and Egypt, and received power 4-6 hours
per day, according to Gaza-based OCHA representative Hamada
al-Bayari. UNRWA Gaza Director John Ging told ConGenoffs via
DVC August 24 that the Gaza water supply was returning to
normal, as electric pumps began pushing fresh water through
backed-up pipe systems - a result of the power shortage.


3. (SBU) Al-Bayari told econoff that the power shortages
caused most families' refrigerated food to be spoiled,
hospitals health services to be greatly limited, and an
relative halt in economic activity. He said the had visited
local hospitals on August 21, reporting that the hospitals'
reserve generators could produce sufficient electricity to
power most machines for patients in critical care. He added
that air conditioning units had been turned off and lit
candles lined hallways and rooms and that all non-emergency
surgeries had to be delayed until power was returned.


Gazans Report Increased Hamas Interference
------------------------------------------

4. (SBU) Gaza-based contacts, in discussing the power
situation, told ConGenoffs that Hamas forces have been
increasingly present in Gaza hospitals, weddings, and
markets. One USG contractor in Gaza said that Hamas forces
are taking advantage of their absolute power in Gaza by
hoarding hospitals' medical supplies and services for Hamas
members, associates, and family members. He referred to
Hamas' growing interference in private gatherings, saying
that wedding parties in Gaza have been interrupted on
numerous occasions by Hamas forces demanding that "Fatah
music" be turned-off.

5. (SBU) Another Gaza-based USG contractor told econoff
August 23 that Gazans' fear of Hamas retaliation for certain
political activity has created an environment of fear and
intimidation in Gaza - "contrary to the order and peace we
read in the press." He said that most Gazans remain
relatively quiet only because they fear Hamas' quick
vengeance on those who participate in civil protest or
dissent.
DUFFY

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