Palestinians chant slogans during a protest against the ongoing electricity crisis in Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip on January 12, 2017. (AFP/Xinhua)
GAZA, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- The police forces of Islamic Hamas movement rule in the Gaza Strip dispersed on Thursday night thousands of demonstrators who protested against an unprecedented electricity crisis in the coastal enclave.
Witnesses said that thousands of Palestinians took to the streets in northern Gaza Strip refugee camp of Jabalia to demonstrate against the unresolved mounting electricity crisis.
The demonstrators chanted slogans that called on isolating the electricity question from the internal feuds and disputes between Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who rules the West Bank.
The witnesses said when the crowds reached the headquarters of power corporation in northern Gaza, Hamas police officers fired into the air and clashed with the demonstrators. No injuries were reported, while some were arrested.
The protests broke out after social media activists had several days ago called on the populations in the impoverished coastal enclave to demonstrate against the Hamas-run electricity company.
Ayman Batniji, Hamas police spokesman told Xinhua that police officers tried to disperse the demonstrators after they tried to attack the headquarters of power corporation in northern Gaza Strip.
Earlier on Thursday evening, similar protests and demonstrations broke out in central Gaza Strip. The police haven't intervened, but called on the populations that they to peacefully demonstrate away from any vandalize.
Mohamed Abu Jayyab, a Palestinian specialist in economy from Gaza, told Xinhua on the phone that the internal political disputes between Gaza and Ramallah, besides the limited amounts of electricity that is generated or received from Israel and Egypt, "are the main reasons for the current crisis."
"We have been hearing about projects, funded by Qatar, Egypt or Turkey, but nothing happen on the ground due to internal Palestinian disputes on power," said Abu Jayyab, adding that the only solution to end the crisis is "to leave the power station and the electricity away from these internal disputes and feuds."
As the crisis has been recently mounting, the two parties of the internal division kept trading accusations on who is responsible for the crisis. Hamas officials accused Abbas and his Palestinian Authority (PA) government for tightening its measures on the shipment of fuels that operate the sole power station in the Gaza Strip.
On Tuesday, Ma'moon Abu Shahla, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) minister of labor from Gaza told reporters that Hamas, which fully rules and controls the Gaza Strip "is fully responsible for the electricity shortage crisis."
"The Palestinian Authority consensus government pays every year one billion shekels (around 260 million U.S. dollars) for the electricity in the Gaza Strip, while Hamas rulers collect unknown and unlimited electricity fees from the populations," he said.
However, Tarek Lubad, the public information officer in the Hamas-run electricity company, told Xinhua that the Gaza Strip's normal daily need of electricity is 500 megawatts, adding that "we expect that on 2018, the Gaza Strip's need for electricity would amount to 800 megawatts."
"Unfortunately, all what we receive today is not more than 240 megawatts and it comes from three sources: 120 megawatts from Israel, 20 megawatts from Egypt and 100 megawatts from the sole power station that needs fuels shipped from Israel every day," said Lubad.
He went on saying that due to fuel shortage, the power station only generates 45 megawatts per day.