In April, in order to punish Hamas for refusing to pay taxes, the Palestinian Authority (PA) decided to stop supplying the Gaza Strip with fuel for its sole power plant. The PA then also ceased its long-time custom of paying for 40 percent of the electricity Gaza imports from Israel. Unsurprisingly, Hamas has agreed neither to start paying its taxes nor to start paying for its own power imports. Israel, after supplying the electricity free of charge for six weeks, has now announced that it will pull the plug. Efraim Inbar comments:
The Hamas leadership in Gaza has threatened Israel with “an explosion” if it does not supply electricity to Gaza at the expense of Israeli taxpayers. Blackmail is, of course, part of the Hamas repertoire. . . .
Voices in Israel and abroad are advocating “moderation”—meaning capitulation—and insisting that Israel has no interest in an escalation. While Israel naturally prefers quiet along its borders, giving in to Hamas’s demands and granting it a victory will only lead to further demands. Supplying electricity to Gaza in exchange for a promise that Gazans refrain from shooting at Israeli civilians is no different from paying protection money to the Mafia.
There is no strategic or moral reason why Israel should supply free electricity to Gaza. While Israel does not desire escalation, it has no reason to fear it. . . .
Hamas exploits the suffering of Gazans to extract humanitarian aid and sympathy for their cause. But Gazans cannot be exempted from responsibility for the consequences of Hamas’s actions.