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Fleeing heat and electricity blackouts, Gazans break their fasts on the beach due to power crisis

gaza strand iftar

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) – As an electricity crisis continues to afflict the Gaza Strip, Muslim residents of the besieged coastal enclave are breaking their fasts on the beach, as the holy month of Ramadan enters its second week.“Without any previous plans and preparations, my wife suggested that we take our homemade food and go to the beach because of power cut during Iftar time,” said Muhammad Salim from al-Shati refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. Like several other families, Salim and his five family members set out for the beach in Sheikh Ijlein south of Gaza City, in an effort to escape the extreme heat and poor lighting indoors.Similarly, Islam Salim from Gaza City told Ma’an that “without electricity at home, it’s very difficult during Ramadan,” where residents in Gaza are abstaining from food and drink for up to 16 hours.If it weren’t for transportation difficulties, Salim expressed that his family would break their fasts at the beach every day. He added that the reason families like his prefer to eat “Iftar”, the sunset meal during Ramadan, by the beach, is the intolerable heat in their houses due to power cuts.“Sometimes we have serious difficulties sleeping, so we stay at the beach until late into the night,” said Salim.The densely populated Gaza strip requires an estimated 380 megawatts of electricity to adequately supply its population of 1.9 million. However, Gaza currently receives only 200 megawatts from Gaza’s sole power plant, as well as Egyptian and Israeli grids.The Gaza Electricity Company’s Public Information Officer Tariq Labad announced recently that power distribution would be improved slightly during Ramadan, after the power supply in Gaza was reduced to 6 hours for every 18 hours earlier in May.During the month of Ramadan, Labad said residents would have electricity for 8-hour intervals followed by 8 hours without electricity. Some areas, he said, will have power from 7 a.m to 3 p.m., others will have it from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. and a third group will have electricity from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.The Gaza Strip was left almost entirely without power during a number of days in April due to maintenance work on power lines from both Israel and Egypt, as well as the ongoing tax disputes on fuel for the enclave’s near-defunct power station.Palestinian officials announced at the end of April the Gaza Strip would be exemptedfrom paying fuel tax this summer, marking a temporary resolution to the tax dispute that has deepened an electricity crisis in the besieged enclave.The 80 to 100 percent exemption on fuel tax was expected to go into effect May 1 to continue until the end of the summer, intended to guarantee Gaza eight hours of electricity per day from the besieged enclave’s sole power plant.

The power plant — alongside Egyptian and Israeli electricity grids — fail to cover the territory’s energy needs and has suffered from chronic shortages due to the near-decade long Israeli blockade.War has also taken its toll, and during Israel’s 50-day offensive on Gaza in 2014, the power plant was targeted, completely knocking it out of commission.
 
(Source / 13.06.2016)
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Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police




The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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