Avid Editor's Insights

Israel to Disengage from Gaza Within Two Years

Posted by avideditor on March 20, 2008

Israel to Disengage from Gaza Within Two Years: “Hillel Fendel

According to a new Israeli-Egyptian agreement, Egypt will take over from Israel in supplying electricity to Gaza, beginning in 2010. This, in fulfillment of Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s plan to totally disengage from the Gaza Strip.

Israeli defense officials have confirmed the existence of the agreement, which was welcomed by Hamas.UN data as of late last year indicated that 62.5% of Gaza’s electricity, and all of Gaza’s fuel, including diesel, gasoline and natural gas, comes from Israel. Another 28.6% of Gaza’s electricity comes from Gaza’s power plant, which depends on Israeli fuel. The remainder of the electricity comes from Egypt. Israel has often threatened to turn off electricity to Gaza in response to ongoing Kassam rocket attacks, but the threat was never effectively utilized.

The new agreement stipulates that Egypt will build an electric grid that will transfer electricity from El Arish, located along the Sinai coast, to Gaza. The $32 million cost will be borne by the Islamic Development Bank in Saudi Arabia. The new plant will supply 150 megawatts – some nine times what Egypt currently supplies – and will replace the 124 megawatts that Israel currently provides.

Though Israel is said to have disengaged from Gaza in 2005, the two entities are actually tied to each other in many ways. Back in May 2005, 18 university students, both religious and non-religious, began a hunger strike against the planned Disengagement/expulsion from Gaza. Their position paper explained that in addition to being a ‘blow to democracy’ [in that the party that supported such a withdrawal lost the elections by a landslide] and a ‘retreat under terrorism that will harm Israel’s security,’ the withdawal was also ‘a sham from a legal standpoint. From an international-legal standpoint, Israel will continue to be responsible for Gaza, and we will continue to supply them with electricity, water and work. We’re not disengaging from Gaza and the Shomron, but rather transferring Jews.’

Humanitarian Aid to Rocket-Firing Gaza Continues
Even with this, however, the Disengagement will still not be complete if Israel maintains the amounts of humanitarian aid that it currently allows to pass from Israel to Gaza. An average of 100 truckloads of food and supplies cross the border into Gaza each day – significantly less than in previous years, but significantly more than might have been expected between two entities at war.

Two Terrorists Killed Making Rockets
In other Gaza news: Two Kassam-rocket manufacturers were killed in an explosion at their workplace – a Kassam manufacturing plant in Gaza. The explosion occurred Thursday morning. Terrorist sources say the two were killed in an Israel Air Force attack; the IDF reports there was no such attack.

Terrorists fired a Kassam rocket at Israel early Thursday afternoon; it exploded in the western Negev without causing damage.“

(Via avideditorla’s shared items in Google Reader.)

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