The Gaza Strip has been under siege for a decade, with a strict Israeli-Egyptian blockade controlling the entry and exit of people and goods. Electricity is rationed throughout the territory, as Gaza has access to less than half of its power needs through purchases and local generation, officials say. Residents may receive eight hours or fewer of electricity a day, with blackouts common. Gaza’s power plant was bombed in 2006 and the electricity network suffered further damage during the 2014 war, straining the system to its limits. The lack of electricity also has consequences for the pumping and treatment of sewage water. In addition to Israeli attacks and restrictions, infighting between Hamas in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah have contributed to a lack of progress in solving the territory’s power crisis. “There are plans to develop a new power plant or even solar fields, but … we need international approval and we lack agreements between Fatah and Hamas,” said Hazem Ahmed, a representative of Gaza’s local power company.
A Turkish ship carrying more than 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip has reached the Israeli port of Ashdod. The vessel Lady Leyla set sail late on Friday from the Turkish city of Mersin. Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency said it docked in Ashdod after a 35-hour journey. In 2010, relations between Turkey and Israel imploded when an Israeli naval raid killed nine Turks on board an aid ship trying to breach Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
The Lady Leyla has now been unloaded and the aid donations will be transported overland through Israel to Gaza. The ship is carrying food, toys, clothes and shoes, according to Turkey’s disaster and emergency management authority. The delivery comes before the start of Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. A six-year political standoff between Turkey and Israel ended last week when the two countries agreed to normalise ties.