Egypt agreed to ship nearly a million liters of diesel fuel to the crisis-stricken Gaza Strip on Friday.
The oil is being sent to Gaza's single power station, which hasn't been able to run its generators since last month. Because of the ongoing fuel crisis, Gaza has been subjected to 18-hour blackouts while empty gas stations have affected taxi, ambulance and other services.
These power cuts have severe humanitarian consequences on Palestinian households. The fuel and electricity shortages also disrupt the delivery of public services, including hospitals and water and waste water treatment plants, The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said of the situation in the Palestinian settlement.
On Friday, Israel allowed nine Egyptian tankers carrying nearly half a million liters of industrial fuel to pass through the Kerem Shalom border crossing and into Gaza, enough to run the plant for about a day. A second delivery of 450,000 liters is expected to arrive soon, and future fuel shipments are being planned, Agence France Presse reported.
Egypt has been reluctant to deal with the Palestinian political party that governs Gaza, Hamas, who in turn has been hesitant to accept supplies from the Israeli government. But the three parties reached a tenuous truce, and Hamas eventually accepted the fuel deal.
Thanks to efforts by Egypt, in coordination with Hamas, prime minister Salam Fayyad and due to a decision by president Mahmud Abbas, an agreement was reached to resume the supply of diesel, via Israel, to Gaza's power plant through the Kerem Shalom terminal, a senior Egyptian official told AFP.
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood said Thursday it wants to expand business relations between Gaza and Egypt on all fronts, to help transform life for the Palestinians there and limit their dependence on Israel, according to Pakistan's Daily Times.
While the Egyptian government has yet to accept the Brotherhood's plan, the party sees Egypt's hostility toward Hamas as an outdated policy that's detrimental to people in Gaza, as it forces trade between the two countries underground.
“I want the crossing to open completely, so that whoever wants to travel from Gaza can come to Egypt,” said Mahmoud Ghozlan, spokesman for the Brotherhood. “We support opening the crossing for import and export.”