The Israel Defense Forces said Major General Eitan Dangot has called for his troops to open the Kerem Shalom Crossing into the Gaza Strip to facilitate the arrival of humanitarian aid, responding to a request by United Nations officials, as the region’s desert dwellers brace for continued heavy snow fall in a region that usually features a very temperate climate.
The IDF said that, earlier on Friday, tanks with heating gas for warming houses were transferred into the strip. Later in the day, as part of a combined effort, the Ministry of Defense, the Israeli National Water Company Mekorot, and UN agencies will transfer four water pumps into Gaza to address flooding from the snow.
Additionally, the Civil Administration has established a combined Israeli-Palestinian command center to address the civilian needs in Judea and Samaria concerning traffic and power cuts from the snow.
Major General Dangot, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, met with representatives of the Palestinian Authority and the international community to discuss the severity of the situation and emphasized Israel’s willingness to assist with the humanitarian requirements of Gaza and the Judea and Samaria Regions, including the transfer of more electricity into the Gaza Strip.
The Gaza electricity supply had been intermittently lost because of a dispute between the rival Hamas and Fatah parties, that control the two rival territories. Israel supplies Fatah, in Judea and Samaria, with electricity at cost, then Fatah sells it at a profit to Hamas, in Gaza. When Fatah officials recognized that their purchases profited their rivals, they cut off supply to residents. Meanwhile, Israel, which Hamas describes at its mortal enemy, currently provides for a third of its energy needs.