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Al Mezan warns: should Israel continue its total closure of Gaza crossings, Gaza sole power plant will soon shut down due to lack of fuel

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12 May 2023 |Reference 37/2023

Israeli forces continued their assault on the Gaza Strip for the fourth consecutive day, targeting civilians and civilian objects. Al Mezan’s documentation shows that so far, 31 Palestinian were killed, including six children and four women, and another 106 were injured. In addition, 13 houses were completely destroyed, and hundreds of others were damaged.[1]

In parallel to the ongoing assault and to its 16-year-old closure and blockade, since Tuesday, 9 May, Israel also further tightened its unlawful closure measures on Gaza by closing Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings. As Kerem Shalom remains closed, basic necessities—including fuel— have not entered Gaza for four days in a row. As a result, Gaza's only power plant, which runs on fuel imported from Israel, has been forced to reduce operations. The number of operating generators has already been reduced. A number of elements indicate that Gaza is about to run out of fuel and that if the plant is not supplied with the necessary fuel, it will shut down in the next few hours.

According to the information collected by Al Mezan, at the time of writing, there are only 166 megawatts of electricity available in Gaza—120 MW of which are supplied from Israeli lines and 46 MW from the power plant. The actual need for electricity to meet more than two Palestinians living in Gaza during the current spring weather is 450 MW per day. This means there is a 63 percent deficit. The ongoing Israeli offensive has disrupted electricity distribution schedules to people's homes, with Gaza residents currently receiving eight hours of electricity followed by eight hours of power cuts.

Since the beginning of the Israeli offensive on 9 May 2023, the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company (GEDC) has received 453 warnings of malfunctions in power networks damaged by Israeli attacks.

The lack of power foreshadows a significant deterioration of humanitarian conditions in Gaza, particularly with regard to health and the environment, and threatens to hinder the work of hospitals, medical clinics, water wells, water desalination plants and other service facilities, as well as the operation of pumps and sewage treatment plants, prompting municipalities to discharge sewage into the sea without treatment.

Al Mezan strongly condemns Israel's ongoing attacks on civilians, residential areas and civilian infrastructure, as well as the total closure of the Gaza crossings and the ban on the entry of fuel needed to operate Gaza's power plant. Al Mezan asserts that these practices are flagrant violations of international humanitarian law, which prohibits the occupying power from punishing the civilian population.

Al Mezan calls on the international community to promptly intervene and put pressure on Israel to immediately stop its military attack on the Gaza Strip, lift the illegal closure and blockade, provide protection for Palestinian civilians, stop the policy of collective punishment, and immediately re-open the crossings to allow the entry of fuel to the Power Plant.

[1]  Figures as of 1 p.m. (Gaza time) on 12 May 2023.