Gaza Gets Back Some Power, Internet After Fuel Deliveries

Israel says it will permit 2 tanker trucks of fuel daily into Gaza, though UN says more is needed
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 18, 2023 6:30 AM CST
Gaza Gets Back Some Power, Internet After Fuel Deliveries
Palestinians walk on a damaged road following an Israeli military raid in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank on Friday.   (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Limited phone and internet services began working again Friday across Gaza after fuel was delivered to restart generators that power the networks, according to the Palestinian telecommunications company Paltel. Israel announced that it will allow two tanker trucks of fuel (about 15,850 gallons) into Gaza each day for the United Nations and communication systems, per the AP. That amount is half of what the UN said it needs for lifesaving functions, including powering water systems, hospitals, bakeries, and the trucks delivering aid. NetBlocks, a group tracking internet outages, confirmed that "internet connectivity is being partially restored" in the Gaza Strip.

Paltel chief Abdulmajeed Melhem didn't disclose how much fuel was needed to power the network each day, but he warned against a stop-start process. "We cannot run the generators for an hour and then stop them because this will lead to great damage to the generators and devices as a whole," he told the AP. Experts say frequently turning generators off and on wears them down and can also lead to power spikes. "They are fuel based, so it's like old cars, where [starting and stopping] too much would cause deposits to form on the spark plugs, etc., messing up timing and efficiency," said MVS Chandrashekhar, an electrical engineering professor at the University of South Carolina.

The fuel will be delivered to the fuel depot on the Gaza side of the border and distributed from there. On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Israeli Cabinet Minister Ron Dermer and told him that a "major catastrophe" was imminent without Israel following through on the agreement in principle to send fuel to southern Gaza that had been forged during Blinken's last meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the war cabinet. On Thursday, Blinken called Benny Gantz, a member of that cabinet, to repeat the message of urgency.

story continues below

Speaking at a news conference on Friday, Israeli national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said the fuel would be allowed for Gaza's communications system and water and sewage services. He said the deliveries are intended to prevent the spread of disease without disrupting Israel's ability to continue its war against the Hamas militant group. "We don't want diseases that could harm the civilians who are there and our forces," Hanegbi said. "If there are diseases, the fighting would be halted. We cannot continue fighting in the event of a humanitarian crisis or an international outcry." Hanegbi said the fuel amounted to roughly 2% to 4% of the normal quantities of fuel that entered Gaza before the Israel-Hamas war erupted on Oct. 7. Israel says the restrictions were needed to prevent Hamas from using fuel for military purposes.

(More Gaza stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.