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Gaza official: More fuel coming from Egypt

April 12, 2012 1:51 A.M. (Updated: April 13, 2012 8:26 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Muhammad al-Abadlah, a member of the gas company association in Gaza, said Wednesday there had been a noticeable improvement in fuel coming into Gaza via Egypt.

Al-Abadlah told Ma'an that the daily amount of fuel arriving through the tunnels had reached about 200,000 to 300,000 liters which is distributed throughout the districts of Gaza.

The price of one liter of gasoline is 2.58 shekels while diesel is 2.49 shekels, according to the Ministry of Finance in Gaza and the general authority for petroleum.

As for Israeli fuel, the official said that some companies were buying quantities of Israeli fuel as a replacement but the high prices prevented them from buying much.

He said Israel was regularly supplying 150 to 200 tons of domestic use gas every day.

A fuel crisis that has left much of the enclave without power for several hours each day since early February, sparked by Egypt's decision to clamp down on the flow of fuel smuggled into Gaza via a network of tunnels.

Critics of Hamas say it is at fault for the emergency for relying so heavily on cheap, illicit fuel, rather than working with the Palestinian Authority to secure alternative supplies.

The PA says it pays more than $50 million a month to an Israeli energy company that feeds power into Gaza, but Hamas refuses to hand over money from electricity bills.

"We have repeatedly asked Hamas to transfer the money they collect so that we can continue to provide them with fuel. But nothing gets sent," said Omar Kittaneh, the head of the PA Power Authority.

The PA admits that nothing is going to change fast. As with many of the issues that bedevil Palestinian politics, the two sides are stuck in a rut.

"Contributing a large part of the PA budget to the Gaza Strip has become the status quo and this will not change any time soon," said PA spokesman Ghassan Khatib.

Reuters contributed to this report.
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