Israel Rejects Claims of Gaza Crisis

Ad Feedback - JERUSALEM, Israel - Spokesmen for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Defense Department refuted claims that Gazans face an imminent humanitarian crisis.

"There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza," one IDF official told YNet news service Sunday, adding that Hamas has worked diligently to create a crisis and blame it on Israel.

While the front page of Monday's Jerusalem Post featured a large photo of a Palestinian woman cooking by lantern light, the fact is Israel provides 70 percent of Gaza's electricity so if the local generating plant really ran out of fuel, it would not leave Gaza residents in the dark.

"Even today, Israel is behind 70 percent of the power supply to Gaza and therefore any claim to the effect that there are electricity problems in Gaza is unfounded," said the IDF official.

"These are media spins by interested parties. We did not cut back on electricity and don't intend to do so at this point," he said.

"The Palestinians are, in fact, the ones who shut down power for several hours a day in a bid to create a crisis. At the moment, their fuel supply has not run out. If there is a shortage of fuel oil at the power plants, they should ask themselves what happened to the supply they received," he said.

YNet reported that a recent shipment of 10,000 cattle, along with existing poultry stock and fruit and vegetable supplies should be sufficient to feed the population for many weeks.

"This is Palestinian spin," said Miko Zarfati from the Israeli Electric Company's Ashkelon plant. "No one has stopped the supply of electricity to the Strip," he said, pointing out that workers at the plant are now subject to Kassam rocket attacks.

The power plant in Gaza produces just 30 percent of the electricity for local residents.

"The situation is totally absurd," Zarfati said. "We're continuing to supply them with electricity despite the overload [demand] for electricity in Israel and despite the fact that Israeli residents and more than one electric company worker sent to communities in the vicinity of Gaza have been injured in rocket attacks," he said.

The absurdities spun from Gaza included claims they'd run out of burial shrouds. The burial shroud "crisis" came less than a day after Thursday's order by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak to close the border crossings.

"There are hardly any trucks allowed into Gaza on Fridays or Saturdays anyhow," a military source told YNet. "As for burial shrouds, they were never on the list of supplies Israel transferred into Gaza anyway," he said.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas called on the UN and Arab League to demand Israel lift the siege and "allow hospitals to operate and prevent a humanitarian disaster."

"We will continue to work toward resolving the crisis and ending the occupation and establishing a Palestinian state," Abbas said.

Exiled Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal got in on the action, calling on Arab countries, among them Egypt and Saudi Arabia, to intervene.

"All Arab leaders exercise real pressure to stop this Zionist crime," he said. "Take up your role and responsibility," Mashaal said on al-Jazeera satellite television.

Sources: YNet news service, The Jerusalem Post, israel national news 

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