Opinion | Editorials

Power cut in Gaza is shocking

The blackout is the latest blow to hit the Gaza Strip that has been effectively sealed off by the Israelis since Hamas movement seized control two months ago, sparking fears of a humanitarian crisis.

  • Gulf News
  • Published: 23:37 August 20, 2007
  • Gulf News

They've closed the borders, they've cut jobs. Today they've cut the electricity, tomorrow they'll cut the air for us," says Palestinian Umm Jaber, a 40-year-old mother of six in Gaza City.

Life in the city was paralysed for the third day as the power remained cut.

The blackout is the latest blow to hit the Gaza Strip that has been effectively sealed off by the Israelis since Hamas movement seized control two months ago, sparking fears of a humanitarian crisis.

It is also another point of contention between Hamas and the Western-backed Palestinian government, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, in the occupied West Bank, as the two sides blamed each other for the power cuts.

But Umm Jaber got it right. Gazans are being punished for the election victory they had handed Hamas one year ago.

The power cuts, a virtual torture tactic in the smouldering summer heat, are just another way to make the people pay for electing Hamas.

It, in fact, didn't start with the takeover of Gaza. Well before that, Hamas was shunned by Western governments and Gaza became under-siege.

We all remember the thousands of people stranded at the border crossings last year when Israel sealed off the territory. Gazans are now paying for Hamas power struggle against Abbas.

The West seems to have become part of the power struggle and wants to force Gaza into submission to Abbas. As the population suffers, few weeks away from the start of Ramadan and only few days before the beginning of the new school year, the Abbas government made it clear it was about politics.

"The people in Gaza, in every home and every house, must go into the street and say to Hamas 'you are responsible for this crime'," says the new information minister Riyad Al Malki.

The people of Gaza certainly won't be able to heed the call. It is dark, and really hot, out there.

Gulf News