MidEast

Egypt Strikes Deal to Alleviate Gaza Energy Crisis Caused by Palestinian Infighting

A former senior Fatah member and rival to Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has brokered a deal between Egypt and Hamas to bring electricity to Gaza.

Mohammad Dahlan, expelled from Fatah in 2011 by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, has reportedly concluded a deal where Egypt is expected to send dozens of fuel trucks to the Hamas-run Strip to bring the Gaza power station back online and supply electricity to residents.

The deal follows four meetings held in Cairo between Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and others senior Hamas officials from Gaza with Mohammed Dahlan’s aides, culminating in a two-hour meeting between Dahlan and Sinwar.

Dahlan’s senior aide Samir al-Masharawi has confirmed that “understandings” were reached between Hamas and Dahlan’s faction of Fatah. According to Masharawi, the goal of these understandings is “to alleviate the suffering of people [in Gaza].”

The understandings between Dahlan, Egypt and Hamas reportedly include an agreement that Hamas will remain responsible for the internal and external security of the Gaza Strip, whilst a committee – headed by Dahlan – will be set up to run Gaza affairs with a U.S. $50m budget.

As part of the deal, Dahlan will be in charge of foreign policy, fundraising and running the crossings between Gaza and Egypt; he will also be in charge of talks with Israel about the crossings and “other matters.”

The committee headed by Dahlan will reportedly be financed by taxes the PA now collects from Gaza. The money will be used to pay civil servants, completing the PA’s break with Gaza. Egypt will be able to open the Rafah crossing, as it will be managed on the Palestinian side by Fatah people who support Dahlan.

Hamas will expected under the deal with Cairo to act with more diligence against global jihadist elements — including ISIS — inside Gaza and at the border between Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula.

The deal follows a recent reduction in Israeli supplies of electricity to Gaza in compliance with a PA request. Israelis, Palestinians and international actors have warned of the potential humanitarian and ecological crisis this would cause.

Senior Fatah officials have criticised the deal, slamming Egypt for its blatant attempt to become involved in internal Palestinian matters.

(via BICOM)

[Photo: BICOM]