Israel still being blamed for Gaza fuel crisis

Tuesday, April 29, 2008 |  by Staff Writer

Despite the UN, Europe and even the Palestinian Authority admitting that blame for the Gaza fuel shortage belongs with Hamas, Palestinian and Israeli human rights groups on Tuesday insisted that Israel was paralyzing the territory and demanded that it stop limiting fuel supplies.

Among those criticizing Israel were local Israeli and Palestinian branches of international human rights groups like Physicians for Human Rights.

Bolstering Israel's argument that it is not responsible for any fuel crisis in Gaza, the head of the Palestinian Authority's gas agency confirmed in remarks to Israel Radio that Hamas had recently stolen 60,000 liters of fuel Israel had supplied for the Gaza power station.

Palestinian gas agency chief Mojahed Salam said that his workers had on four separate occasions over the past few weeks been threatened at gunpoint by Hamas militiamen as they were loading fuel onto trucks on the Gaza side of the Nahal Oz fuel terminal.

Salam also corroborated Israeli reports that Hamas gunmen had repeatedly opened fire on the Israeli side of the terminal in order to halt the flow of fuel in order to create a crisis. Two Israeli terminal workers were killed in one such shooting attack earlier this month.

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