Taxis disappearing form Gaza streets due to Israeli fuel reduction 2007-12-04 21:37:01   Print

    GAZA, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- Mohammed Abu Shaqfa, 21, had to walk nearly 25 km to Khan Younis along with his fellow students from his university in Gaza City after a two-hour desperate wait in a Gaza street for a taxi on Tuesday.

    The group of students of the Islamic University at first were very happy to see some taxis parked at a nearby square, but to their disappointment, none of the yellow Hyundai vans have enough fuel to ferry them to southern Gaza town of Khan Younis.

    Most of Gaza taxis could not be replenished when their gasoline tanks are running out on Tuesday, because local fuel distribution companies have rejected to receive the fuel that Israeli companies send to Gaza as a protest against the Israeli decision to reduce fuel deliveries to the coastal Strip.

    Israeli army started on Sunday to put a ruling by the Israeli Supreme Court to scale down fuel deliveries to Gaza into effect as a way to force Palestinian militant groups stop rocket attacks against Israeli towns.

    The lack of fuel coincided with accidental power cutoff in large parts of the Gaza Strip, widening the crisis.

    Though most vehicles is depleting fuel, Dr. Mu'awia Hassanien, director of Ambulance Service at the Health Ministry, assured that the ambulances still work.

    But he warns of a power shortage in Gaza's health facilities, saying, "we have a shortage of 60-70 percent in the diesel for power generators ... If the fuel is not delivered as soon as possible, the vital facilities of the health will be affected."

    The education sectors were also affected by the power shortage.

    Rami al-Ghoul, a 19-year-old diploma student at al-Azhar University, found the whole campus was in a darkness when he went there to start study in the early morning.

    "There was no electricity, and there was no fuel to run the generators," said al-Ghoul.

    According to local petroleum companies, they decided to boycott Israeli fuel supplies after Israel limited its fuel delivery to Gaza within a quarter of the amount that it had used to send before June.

    Mahmoud al-Khozendar of the service stations owners' union say they used to receive 300,000 to 350,000 liters of diesel and the same quantity of gasoline in addition to 300 tons of gas everyday.

    Now, Israel wants to deliver 90,000 of diesel, 22,000 of gasoline and 70 tons of gas everyday.

    Israel has taken a series of steps to tighten the siege on the Gaza Strip since June as a result of Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip following days of infighting between Hamas and Fatah led by President Mahmoud Abbas.

    Meanwhile, minister of transportation in the deposed Hamas administration blamed the ongoing fuel crisis on the caretaker Palestinian government which rules in the West Bank.

    Minister Ziad al-Zazza added that the Ramallah-based government doesn't pay for the Israeli fuel providers while receiving money from the Gaza-based petrol distribution companies.

Editor: Song Shutao
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