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"The decision of the occupation to reduce the electricity to Gaza at the request of PA President Mahmoud Abbas is catastrophic and unsafe", Hamas spokesperson Abdel Latif al-Qanua said.

Israel has besieged the Gaza Strip, home to almost two million people, since Hamas wrested control of the territory from the rival Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007.

Palestinians, who get only several hours of electricity a day, sit around a fire outside their home in Gaza City. Every month, Israel would dock money from that transfer to cover the cost of electricity supply in Gaza.

Under current supply levels, Gaza has only four to six hours of power a day, significantly impairing the medical services in the Mediterranean coastal strip.

The gravity of the showdown between Qatar and an Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain - sparked by Qatar's funding for terrorist groups and its alignment with Iran - will only further tie the hands of Hamas, the Qatari-funded broadcaster Al Jazeera noted in an analysis of the situation.

The Israeli government miscalculated in 2005 in the Gaza disengagement; it dare not make the same mistake in 2017 with Yehudah and Shomron.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told visiting U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley on Friday that Saleh al-Arouri, a senior Hamas commander who was recently deported from Qatar, has moved to Lebanon and intends to launch terror attacks against Israel from there.

He added, "Unfortunately, Hamas takes NIS 100 million ($28 million) a month from residents of the Gaza Strip: from the goods, from the taxes of all the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, and this does not reach the Palestinian Authority".

Gaza's health ministry spokesman Dr Ashraf al-Qidra warned of "dangerous consequences for the sick and public health" if electricity is further reduced.

An Israeli soldier emerges from a tunnel built by Hamas militants leading from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel in August 2014.

Egypt has offered to provide the Gaza Strip with more electricity in return for cooperation in counter-terrorism measures Cairo is undertaking.

For decades, Israeli officials have claimed that without UNRWA providing for the needs of the Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Israel would be held responsible.

There's no need for convoluted explanations to understand that a further reduction in Gaza's power supply will severely worsen the already hard situation there. It has done this using electricity paid for by the PA and supplied by Israel.

UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness told HuffPost in a statement that the organization's mandate and position is clear and unchanged.

UNRWA had faced fierce criticism in Israel in recent days after it announced that it had discovered a Hamas tunnel under two of its boys schools in Maghazi camp in the Gaza Strip on June 1.


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