Israel says restoring Gaza power after PA pledge to pay

Palestinian children do their homework during a power cut in an impoverished area in Gaza City. Residents of Gaza, home to 1.8 million people, have been experiencing long hours of electricity outages. (AFP)
Updated 07 January 2018

Israel says restoring Gaza power after PA pledge to pay

JERUSALEM: Israel will reverse a power cut to Gaza begun in June after the Palestinian Authority agreed to pay for its supply to the blockaded enclave, the energy ministry said Sunday.
It said Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz had ordered the supply to be restored by Monday.
A cut in PA payments to Israel to supply power on its behalf to the Gaza Strip in June reduced the amount being delivered to the coastal Palestinian territory by some 50 megawatts.
Many residents were left with around four hours of electricity per day as a result.
Restoring the 50 megawatts will return the enclave to the situation before June, when mains electricity was supplied to residents in eight-hour cycles.
Steinitz said the PA had last year cut the amount of its monthly payments from 40 million shekels (9.7 million euros, $11.6 million) to 25 million shekels.
The electricity payments have been a key issue in efforts at reconciliation between Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs Gaza, and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah.
The cut came as part of measures taken by Abbas to pressure Hamas after the Islamist movement created what was seen as a shadow government in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas and Fatah signed a landmark reconciliation accord in Cairo in October aiming to end their decade-long feud and hand authority in Gaza back to the PA.
However, reconciliation efforts later stalled and the rival factions missed a December deadline to transfer power in Gaza.
Security control in the territory remains a major issue, with Hamas refusing to disarm its 25,000-strong armed wing.

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed praises Jacinda Ardern and lights up Burj Khalifa to honor New Zealand

Updated 42 min 54 sec ago

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed praises Jacinda Ardern and lights up Burj Khalifa to honor New Zealand

DUBAI: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai, thanked Jacinda Ardern on Friday for her ‘sincere empathy’ following the attack on two New Zealand mosques that killed 50 Muslims.

The world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, was illuminated in a gesture of solidarity with New Zealand and its prime minister.

Ardern has received widespread praise from around the world and in particular from Muslim countries and their leaders for the way she has handled the aftermath of the terrorist attack carried out by a white supremacist.

“New Zealand today fell silent in honor of the mosque attacks' martyrs,” Sheikh Mohammed tweeted. “Thank you PM Jacinda Ardern and New Zealand for your sincere empathy and support that has won the respect of 1.5 billion Muslims after the terrorist attack that shook the Muslim community around the world.”

Ardern led thousands of people in a two minute vigil on Friday as the shocked nation came together to remember those killed in the attack. 

She told those gathered in a park opposite the Al Noor mosque, where 42 people died, that: "New Zealand mourns with you. We are one.”

The prime minister’s response to the killings has been widely admired in helping the country come to terms with the atrocity. In the hours after the shootings she wore a black headscarf and visited members of the Muslim community.

She moved to reassure those caught up in the attacks and hugged survivors at a community center in Christchurch.

“We represent diversity, kindness, compassion,” Ms Ardern said on the day of the attack. “A home for those who share our values. Refuge for those who need it. And those values will not and cannot be shaken by this attack.”

She did not hesitate to describe the killings as a terrorist attack and said she would refuse to say the name of the killer who carried it out.

But she has also acted quickly with legislation. Her government banned on Thursday the sales of semi-automatic weapons.

“Ardern’s performance has been extraordinary - and I believe she will be strongly lauded for it both domestically and internationally,” political commentator Bryce Edwards of Victoria University in Wellington told Reuters.

Social media has been flooded with messages of admiration for Ardern, with many using her as an example for their own politicians to follow.