Israel will cut electricity supplies to the Gaza Strip after an agreement with the Palestinian Authority to put pressure on Hamas. The decision is expected to shorten the daily average of four hours of power Gaza’s two million residents receive by 45 minutes, Israel’s security cabinet said.
Human rights groups have warned of a humanitarian crisis as the electricity shortages could leave schools, hospitals and businesses unable to operate fully. Clean water supplies have begun to dwindle as desalination plants are left without power.
It is not clear when the cuts are due to begin.
Hamas warned in a statement on Monday that the power cuts are “dangerous” and could lead to an “explosion”.
The West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA) blamed Hamas’s failure to reimburse it for electricity for the reduction in power supplies. However, PA spokesman Tareq Rashmawi coupled that explanation with a demand Hamas agree to unity initiatives of the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, which include holding the first parliamentary and presidential elections in more than a decade.