IEC union workers announced Thursday morning that, in solidarity with the struggle to return the bodies of two fallen Israeli soldiers who were killed in the 2014 Gaza war, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, and the living Israelis Abra Mengistu and Hisham a-Sayed, they refuse to repair the power lines to Gaza that were hit by Hamas rockets aimed at Israel.
A senior defense official told reporters last Thursday that “Hamas hit power lines with their rocket fire, in the southern area of Rafah, lines that cross from Israel to them.” He added that “the power plant in Gaza had four active turbines, it now has one turbine due to lack of fuel. This affects the power supply to the Strip. Today in Gaza the population receives 5 hours of electricity a day. If the war continues, it will drop to 4 hours a day. Earlier, Gaza residents had 8 hours a day. This also affects the water infrastructure in the Strip. When electricity is reduced, there’s also less water because there’s no electricity for the turbines. Today they get water once every four days, before that once every two days.”
In response to its workers’ union’s announcement, the IEC management issued a statement saying: “The IEC is a government-owned company which is subject to the provisions of the law, and believes that electricity is an essential product that should be kept outside the conflict. The IEC yearns for the return of our boys home.”
Israeli attempts to transfer aid trucks from Jordan to Gaza’s citizens have failed after Hamas fired at the trucks at the Erez crossing and wounded a 19-year-old soldier. On Wednesday it was decided that in light of the repeated attacks on the trucks, the aid would not be transferred to the Strip.
On Saturday, the IEC announced that five of the ten high-voltage lines supplying Gaza had been damaged by the shooting from the Gaza Strip, adding that the lines would not be repaired until safe access to them is assured.
It should be noted that this is not an exceptional event, as in every round of fighting, high voltage lines to the Gaza Strip are hit as a result of rocket fire, and then Israeli workers are sent to repair the damage.
Biram Shaul, the brother of the fallen soldier Oron Shaul whose body has been held by Hamas since 2014, demanded on Wednesday that Israel not end Operation Guardian of the Walls in the Gaza Strip without the return of the bodies of his brother and Hadar Goldin, as well as the living captives.
“The government’s desire to bring them back and its commitment is near zero,” Shaul told Ynet. “Senior members of the defense establishment and the political establishment say that the State of Israel will do everything to return Oron and Hadar and the other prisoners from the Gaza Strip, and every time they piddle it. I hear quite a few people on the news panels saying that the issue of the prisoners and the missing persons should not be involved at the end of this operation, and I ask myself, if not now – when?”