Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

Who is responsible for solving Gaza’s massive electricity crisis?

| Feb. 05, 2018

Last week, Beit Hanoun Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip halted its operations, the al-Durra Children’s Hospital drastically reduced its services and seven other health centers across Gaza closed because of a lack of fuel to power their generators. Lapses in the power supply have devastating consequences for every sector of the economy, including health care, education, water and sanitation, and agriculture. The power crisis is a grave symptom of the larger problem plaguing Gaza: the inability or refusal of key actors to govern the territory.

My research explores how the ongoing occupation and conflict distorts the Palestinian capacity to perform the typical functions of a state in the West Bank, and these complications are even more pronounced in the Gaza Strip.

In normal circumstances, electricity is distributed by a public or private utility and paid for by consumers who benefit from it. This ideal exchange can be interrupted in a number of ways — people might tap into electricity networks illegally, or government revenue may be pocketed rather than directed toward improving public infrastructure. However, Gaza stands out as an especially serious breakdown in the contractual model of service provision, because the ability and willingness to pay has been decimated on both sides — the governments and the governed.

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For Academic Citation: Greenwald, Diana.“Who is responsible for solving Gaza’s massive electricity crisis?.” The Washington Post, February 5, 2018.

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