Israel Not Responsible for Gaza’s Energy Woes

To the editors:

A recent Daily Freeman article on looming ecological disaster from diesel power plants in Mideast countries is mostly on target (“In parts of Mideast, power generators spew toxic fumes 24/7”). It’s a dire situation demanding prompt action. A new U.S. government report notes, “Investment in the energy sector in the West Bank and Gaza is one of the requisites for economic growth … the electricity system requires substantial upgrading.”

But a reference that Israel’s 2014 “bombing” of Gaza’s diesel-based power station results in continued diminished production is irresponsibly false. This picture of Israel’s culpability demands a response. That task again falls to the Jewish Federation of Ulster County.

Israel’s defense forces shelled the Gaza plant in response to rocket attacks aimed at residential neighborhoods by Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups. Targeting non-combatants is a literal definition of terrorism. But the plant continues to run at lower-than-intended capacity “only due to reliance on less efficient diesel fuel … and limited funds for the purchase of diesel fuel.” (Source: U.S. Dept of Commerce, 2022). Even prior to the 2014 Israel Gaza War, there was a crackdown on the smuggling of diesel fuel from Egypt into Gaza, which was the principal source of fuel for the plant at that time.

Where does Gaza get its diesel now? Imported from Israel, of course. The Gaza plant provides 60 megawatts (MW) of the total daily demand. Egypt provides another 27 MW via power lines. Israel provides another 125 MW. And even when Gaza is behind on its electric bill, or just refuses to pay outright for political reasons, Israel never turns off the faucet.

It’s easy to make Israel out as the villain responsible for any problem in Palestinian society. Verifiable facts from the U.S. government and reputable news sources paint a different picture altogether.

David Drimer, Kingston Rondavid Gold, Woodstock

Mr. Drimer and Mr. Gold are, respectively, the executive director and president of the Jewish Federation of Ulster County (