INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Gaza: Fuel Imports Cut; Farmers Hope to Export

Published: Mon 19 Nov 2007 03:15 PM
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FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9708
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JERUSALEM 002393
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NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE; NEA/IPA FOR
GOLDBERGER/SHAMPAINE/BELGRADE; PRM FOR PDAS GREENE AND
PRM/ANE; NSC FOR ABRAMS/WATERS; TREASURY FOR
SZUBIN/LOEFFLER/NUGENT/HIRSON; BRUSSELS FOR LERNER; PLEASE
PASS TO USAID FOR KUNDER/MCCLOUD/BORODIN
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID ECON KPAL KWBG PGOV PHUM IS
SUBJECT: GAZA: FUEL IMPORTS CUT; FARMERS HOPE TO EXPORT
THIS YEAR'S HARVEST
REF: JERUSALEM 2239
1. (SBU) Summary: Gaza fuel imports have been reduced by
roughly one-third since October 27. Gaza-based WHO contacts
report that Gazans are receiving an "all time low" level of
medical care. Humanitarian and commercial shipments have
continued to enter Gaza in reduced quantities. Gaza farmers
are focused on whether they will be able to export their
harvest this year, as USD 30 million worth of Gaza produce
will ready for export from late-November through January.
End summary.
Fuel Cuts Pose Risk To Power Supply;
Hamas Deters Major Price Increase
---------------------------------
2. (SBU) Director of the PA Fuel Agency in Gaza Mujahid
Salama told Econoff on November 19 that fuel transfers at the
Nahal Oz fuel transfer station have been reduced by more than
one-third since October 27. He said that diesel fuel has
been cut by 30 percent; gasoline by 35 percent; cooking gas
by 10 percent; and industrial fuel (used exclusively by the
Gaza Power Plant) by 30 percent.
3. (SBU) Power Plant Manager Rafiq Maliha told Econoff
November 19 that if the reduced fuel imports continue, his
plant will be forced to reduce power output from 60 MW to 25
MW by January. European Commission TIM official Ian Hoskins
confirmed this estimate, stating that the plant will use up
all its reserve fuel before January.
4. (SBU) Gaza-based OCHA Representative Hamada al-Bayari
said that Gaza fuel prices have increased by 10 percent since
the fuel cuts began. He opined that gas station owners have
not increased prices more significantly for fear of Hamas
retribution for perceived price gouging.
Erez/Beit Hanoun Crossing
-------------------------
5. (SBU) WHO Gaza director Mahmoud Daher told Econoff on
November 19 that reduced hours at the Erez/Beit Hanoun
crossing has resulted in a 15 percent reduction in medical
patients permitted to depart. Increased restrictions on
after-dark travel across the Erez/Beit Hanoun crossing has
also limited options for Gaza medical professionals in
emergency cases.
6. (SBU) OCHA's al-Bayari and USG contractors in Gaza
reported that Sufa crossing was open November 19 for beef
cattle shipments and on November 18 for banana shipments into
Gaza. Kerem Shalom crossing was open November 19 for one
hour - 15 truckloads of humanitarian goods were transferred.
Kerem Shalom was closed on November 18. (Note: Sufa was
closed by the GOI on October 27, making Kerem Shalom, with a
capacity of 60 truckloads per day, the only commercial
crossing into Gaza. End note.) Al-Bayari added that, in
spite of the closure regime, Gaza markets have sufficient
food supply to meet Gazans' basic human consumption needs.
Sufficient Supplies And Drugs;
Hospital Infrastructure Lacking
-------------------------------
7. (SBU) Daher said that Gaza hospitals have sufficient
disposables and drugs, but are experiencing a lack of
replacement parts for hospital medical machines, laundry
machines, windows, doors, and floor materials. He said that
the absence of cement and other construction materials has
halted all renovations and additions to Gaza hospitals, which
incurred damage during the Hamas coup in June. Gaza medical
care, he summarized, has been reduced to an "all time low" in
the last few months.
8. (SBU) Daher confirmed to Econoff on November 19 the death
of a 20-year old Gaza cancer patient on November 17, as
reported on by local news agencies. Daher said that the
Israeli NGO "Physicians For Human Rights" had made numerous
requests to the GOI over the last two years to allow the
20-year old patient to receive cancer treatment outside of
Gaza, but all were denied.
JERUSALEM 00002393 002 OF 002
USD 30 Million In Agriculture Earnings Possible
--------------------------------------------- --
9. (SBU) Minister of Health (MoH) Director General of
Planning Alaa Joma told Econoff November 19 that if Gaza
agricultural exports are permitted this harvest (late
November to early January), Gazan farmers would earn roughly
USD 30 million in exports of strawberries, bell peppers,
cherry tomatoes, and carnations to Israel and Europe.
Gaza-based USG contractors said that 90 percent of the
harvest will go to waste if they are not able to be exported.
----
For the latest reports on the Palestinian economy, visit
ConGen Jerusalem's unclassified intelink site at:
http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/pal econ
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