Israel decided to reduce Gaza's fuel supply even further yesterday and expand Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank as part of its policy that induces the collective punishment of Palestinians. This move came in response to rocket attacks from the Palestinian territory.
Three rockets were fired from the Hamas-run enclave in southern Israel on Sunday and two were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system, the Israeli military said.
There was no claim of responsibility. After the attack, Israel launched an airstrike against what its military described as a Hamas military compound.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday ordered hundreds of new settler homes to be built near the settlement of Dolev, northwest of Ramallah. A statement from Netanyahu's office said he ordered that plans be submitted at the next meeting of planning authorities for "the establishment of a new neighborhood in Dolev with approximately 300 new residential housing units."
"We will deepen our roots and strike at our enemies," the statement quoted Netanyahu as saying. "We will continue to strengthen and develop the settlements."
In addition, COGAT, a unit in the Israeli Defense Ministry that coordinates civilian issues with Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, said "cutting the amount of diesel in half will significantly reduce" the plant's output.
Gaza has long suffered from a shortage of electricity and chronic blackouts. A new power line from Israel
has been proposed to alleviate the situation.
Currently residents get six hours of electricity followed by 12 hours of blackout. Since 2007, the Gaza Strip has been under a crippling Israeli and Egyptian blockade that has gutted its economy and deprived its roughly 2 million inhabitants of many vital commodities, including food, fuel and medicine.
In the long-embargoed enclave, the humanitarian situation has grown worse by the day. As part of a growing humanitarian crisis in the besieged enclave, scores of Palestinians have long demonstrated against high unemployment rates in the Gaza Strip.
With poverty rampant and unemployment high, many of its 2 million residents depend on services provided by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The World Bank last year warned that the Gaza economy was in "free fall," calling on Israel and the international community to take immediate action to avoid the "immediate collapse" of the Palestinian territories. According to the bank, unemployment is now over 50% and over 70% among Gaza's youth.