GAZA’S electricity cut out at 1pm GMT yesterday, when its sole power plant ran out of fuel, leaving the Palestinian territory without electricity after Israel cut off supplies.
The Gaza Health Minister also said that medical first responders going to help victims of Israeli airstrikes are themselves being targeted by further airstrikes by Israeli forces.
Palestinian Energy Authority Chairman Thafer Melhem told Voice of Palestine radio just before the plant shut down: ‘This will plunge the Strip into complete darkness and make it impossible to continue providing all basic life services, all of which depend on electricity, and it will not be possible to operate them partially with generators in light of the prevention of fuel supplies from Rafah Gate. This catastrophic situation creates a humanitarian crisis for all residents of the Gaza Strip.’
The statement referred to Israel’s action ‘as the dirtiest crime of collective punishment against defenceless civilians in modern history’.
It called on the international community to move quickly to stop ‘this crime against humanity and this multi-form mass murder’.
Health Minister, Mai al-Kaila, said: ‘the fuel stock to operate the generators in the Gaza Strip hospitals will end tomorrow, Thursday, which will exacerbate the disastrous conditions in the hospitals.’
Israel cut off electricity supply to Gaza on Monday as part of a ‘total siege’, with Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said: ‘We are putting a complete siege on Gaza… No electricity, no food, no water, no gas – it’s all closed.’
Israel blocked medical supplies entering Gaza, with a humanitarian convoy from Egypt threatened with an Israeli air raid on Tuesday.
The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Israeli strikes since Saturday have destroyed more than 22,600 residential units, 10 health facilities and 48 schools.
Palestinian news agency Wafa is reporting that Israeli forces dropped white phosphorus bombs on the al-Karama neighbourhood in Gaza earlier in the night.
Hamas said it ‘does not target children’, adding that Western media should be accurate and ‘not blindly side with the Zionist narrative, which is full of lies and slander’. In a statement, it said the resistance and Al-Qassam Brigades targeted the ‘Zionist military and security system’.
‘We … categorically affirm the falsehood of the fabricated allegations promoted by some Western media outlets, which unprofessionally adopt the Zionist narrative full of lies and slander against our Palestinian people and their resistance, the latest of which was the claim of killing children, beheading them, and targeting civilians.’
Dr Medhat Abbas, Gaza Health Ministry Director General, said: ‘We will run out of fuel very soon, we are running on standby generators. These generators are consuming a lot of fuel. There is no fuel, no food, no potable water, so the situation is miserable, a humanitarian situation that is unprecedented historically.
‘It’s a war crime committed in front of the international community. Two million people are now living under this tight siege and heavy bombardment, three blocks annhilated while people were inside, people are still under the rubble. We have not enough tools in the civil defence to bring those people outside, the victims.
‘In fact, let me assure you that without having a safe route right now for medical crews for seeing patients outside and for bringing inside Gaza fuel and medication and food for the people, we are going to witness soon in the coming hours a humanitarian disaster unprecedented historically.
‘The bombardments are every hour, the strikes are non-stop, war planes striking day and night, 24 hours a day. In Gaza City in particular, three blocks of homes are totally annihilated, we are losing Gaza City, this is not a city anymore, it’s some rubble here and there and displaced people. That’s all that remains, it is unfair and unjust. The international community just watches and does nothing to stop the war against the people.
- British Defence Secretary Grant Shapps spoke out in support of Israel’s onslaught on Gaza, saying: ‘These are terrorists who are only interested in murder and killing. There is no equivalence at all. Israel has the perfect right to defend itself and must defend itself against these terrorists.’