Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. (AP/Emrah Gurel) (AP/Emrah Gurel)


‘For almost a year [Abbas] has been trying to cause a war in Gaza and is doing so with brutal methods,’ Steinitz charged.

By: United with Israel Staff

Israel’s Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz accused Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas of pushing the Gaza Strip to the brink of war with Israel.

IDF Radio reported Thursday that Abbas is working to thwart Israeli attempts to provide fuel to the Gaza power plant and other humanitarian aid.

Palestinian Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein Al-Sheikh contacted the power station in Gaza, threatened them and ordered them not to accept the Israeli fuel, the report said.

Responding to the report, Steinitz accused Abbas of creating a humanitarian crisis and pushing the coastal enclave toward the boiling point at which Hamas would attack on Israel.

“For almost a year [Abbas] has been trying to cause a war in Gaza and is doing so with brutal methods,” Steinitz told the radio station.

Israel has been working behind the scenes to improve the desperate situation in Gaza and thwart a humanitarian disaster.

Just yesterday, 20,211 tons of goods in 592 trucks entered Gaza through Kerem Shalom Crossing, four ambulances crossed into Israel through Erez Crossing, and 209 Palestinians entered Israel from Gaza for humanitarian purposes.

On Tuesday, 22,247 tons of goods in 667 trucks entered Gaza through Kerem Shalom Crossing, with 13 ambulance crossings through Erez Crossing, and 334 Palestinians entering Israel from Gaza for humanitarian purposes.

Abbas, for his part, has been fighting any attempt to stabilize Gaza and is in the process of imposing additional sanctions on the Gaza Strip.

‎Palestinian officials quoted by Arab media last week is planning a series of new ‎financial sanctions against Hamas, the ‎terrorist organization that rules Gaza.‎

Hamas violently ousted Abbas’s Fatah-led government ‎in Gaza in 2007, effectively splitting the ‎Palestinian population ‎into two separate political ‎entities. Egyptian efforts over the past ‎‎decade to ‎‎‎promote a ‎‎reconciliation between the rival ‎‎‎Palestinian ‎‎factions have so far failed, with the the latest ‎‎agreement brokered ‎‎in ‎October 2017.

In response to the PA’s inability exert authority over Gaza, Abbas has ‎imposed a series of crippling financial sanctions on ‎the Strip, including suspending the salaries of ‎thousands of Hamas government employees and cutting ‎PA payments for the electricity used in Gaza, in an ‎effort to regain control of the Strip, or possibly push it towards another disastrous war with Israel.

These moves have significantly aggravated the already dire economic ‎reality in Gaza. With unemployment exceeding ‎‎50 percent and the World Bank recently warning that the coastal enclave’s economy was on the verge of “immediate collapse.”

JNS contributed to this report. 

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