Israel Transfers Diesel Fuel to Gaza

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israel transferred 450,000 liters of diesel fuel to Gaza Friday via the Kerem Shalom Crossing.

The transfer will temporarily alleviate the fuel shortage at Gaza's sole power plant, allowing it to operate at full capacity for the first time in a month.

For the first time, the Palestinian Authority is paying for the fuel, coordinating its transfer through the Israeli border crossing with Cairo, according to the P.A.'s official Ma'an News Agency.

For more than a year, Gaza-based Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh has refused to accept fuel transfers through the Kerem Shalom Crossing.

Gazans have been experiencing frequent power outages and fuel shortages since the beginning of the month.

Haniyeh blamed Cairo for the crisis, saying its decision to cut off fuel deliveries through the smuggling tunnels in February caused the fuel shortage and subsequent power outages. 

Earlier this month, Ma'an reported that Hamas reached an agreement with Egypt to import fuel via the Rafah Crossing.

But the Rafah crossing has no pipelines to Gaza so large amounts of fuel cannot be transferred through it.

Some say Haniyeh wants to pressure Arab countries to deal directly with its government instead of the P.A. or Israel.

Hamas also wants Egypt to increase its electrical grid connectivity to 27 megawatts. Israel supplies 120 megawatts to the Gaza Strip everyday.

The P.A. and Hamas have yet to implement the reconciliation agreement announced at the end of May to form a unity government.

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