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Saturday, June 05, 2010

What the Gaza blockade means

Matt Yglesias tries to prove that Israel's Gaza 'blockade' is meant as 'collective punishment' by pointing to Gaza's sole power plant as an example (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
As I’ve noted before, in the eyes of its defenders the blockade of the Gaza Strip is a security measure aimed at denying rockets to Hamas, while in fact it’s a comprehensive effort to collectively punish Gaza residents—a majority of whom are children—in hopes that this will somehow lead to Hamas being replaced by a more moderate regime. Yousef Munayyer’s rundown of the consequences of the blockade makes the point clearly. For example, “In 2006, Israel carried out an attack on Gaza’s only power plant and never permitted the rebuilding to its pre-attack capacity (down to producing 80 megawatts maximum from 140 megawatts).”
Really? Perhaps a few facts about the electric plant are in order.

Yes, Israel destroyed the power plant in June 2006 in response to an act of war: The kidnapping of IDF Corporal Gilad Shalit. It did so as part of a military operation in Gaza. It hindered Hamas' response to the operation.

Gaza uses approximately 187 MW of electricity per day. 12o MW come from Israel, 50 from the Gaza plant and 17 from Egypt, mainly in the Rafah area.

In January 2008, Hamas shut the lights off, claiming that they didn't have enough power. They even staged blackout scenes that were carried on television worldwide (see picture above).

By the way, the Gaza power plant is quite profitable.

In April, the power plant shut down altogether due to a dispute between Hamas and Fatah.

I don't doubt that Gazans have been inconvenienced from time to time by a lack of available power from the power plant. But all it would take for the plant to reopen would be the return of Gilad Shalit and an agreement by Hamas to stop shooting rockets at Israel. Unfortunately, neither of those things is forthcoming.

Hamas is the de facto government of Gaza and it has chosen to make war on Israel. In a war, sometimes civilians suffer too.


At 5:51 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel has no right to prevent Hamas from being armed and on the other hand Israel has no right to defend its from Hamas' terrorism.

For the Jewish State, its the proverbial Catch-22 in real life.

What could go wrong indeed


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