Sunday, January 20, 2008

Gaza Power Plant Begins Shutting Down As Israelis Respond To Rockets

In a decisive reponse to months of rockets and mortar fire directed at its civilian population, Israel, along with raids targeting the Hamas infrastructure has closed the borders and prevented fuel deliveries to Gaza's power plant....and the Gaza power plant is in the process of shutting down.

Kanaan Abeid, deputy chairman of the Palestinian Energy Authority in the Gaza Strip, said the power plant turned off one of its two turbines and the second would stop in the evening.

"There is no fuel coming in and we have no reserves," Abeid said. He estimated as many as one million Gaza residents would be affected by the full shutdown.

Palestinian militants have been firing rockets daily into Israel from the Gaza Strip, which Hamas Islamists seized in June after routing President Mahmoud Abbas's secular Fatah faction.

Israel has responded to the rockets with stepped up air strikes and ground incursions that have killed 39 Gazans, 18 of them Hamas militants, in the last week.

You'll notice that the article is written by Palestinian apologist Nidal al-Mughrabi, and that he still uses the term `militants', avoiding the`T' word at all costs! And even the New York Times acknowledges that only 6 of the casualties were actually civilians, not 21. according to Palestinians at the hospitals.Still the article at least mentions that the closure is in response to Palestinian rockets fired into Israel.

The closure, according to Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel affects gasoline and deisel, but not cooking oil and household fuel oil.

"The ball is in their court," said Mekel. "If they stop the rockets today, everything would go back to normal."

The funny part, of course is that the closure of the power plant is probably unnecessary, and designed for maximum drama. Both Israeli and Palestinian officials agree on figures that Gaza normally consumes 200 megawatts of electricity. Only 65 megawatts are produced by the local power plant, while the rest is supplied by Israel and Egypt, with Israel providing the vast majority of Gaza's electricity. So this amounts a reduction of about only 25%. And the Israelis have not shut down Gaza's electricity - yet.

In reality, that's exactly what they should do,until the rockets stop and kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is released. Hamas, after all, is buiding an army there to fight Israel, using the American weapons and equipment they got when US proxy Fatah ran away without fighting, as well as arms and trainers from Iran and Syria.And after all, Hamas, according to it's own charter is still comitted to Israel's destruction. So is Fatah, but that's another story...

These half measures ( which is what they amount to) will not solve the Hamas problem or end the rockets,while insuring that Israel gets maximum condemnation for creating a `humanitarian disaster' and issuing `collective punishment', especially from the EU and the UN.

Isn't it interesting that these terms are never applied to the Palestinians' indiscriminate targeting and murder of Israeli civilians,or the destruction in Sderot and elsewhere?

No, the Israelis would be far better off going all the way and shutting off Gaza's power entirely, as well as stepping up strikes against Hamas leadership and military until they get the message and act in a civilized manner. Aside from the positive lesson this would be to Israel's enemies,it might also send a message to the population of Gaza - for the first time - that the War Against The Jews has a price,and peace is preferable.

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