Friday, June 24, 2011

Gaza Flotilla and the Blackouts: Two Kinds

Photo credit: Honest Reporting
The Aftonbladet propaganda machine has cranked out another anti-Israel slam in one of its articles  written by Olof Svensson.  This one is about the Gaza electric power situation and not surprisingly, it is confusingly full of misinformation:
-“The idea was that the money would be paid back as the power plant began generating electricity - and money. But because it is destroyed, the Palestinians are asked to avoid paying back the loan, something Gunilla Carlsson, Minister for International Development Cooperation, thinks is reasonable. Part of the loan has already been paid back because the Palestinians purchased power equipment from Swedish companies.”
 The post refers to the Gaza Power Plant (GPP), or more correctly, the Gaza North Substation which was bombed by the Israeli Air Force in June 2006. So, first of all, it’s old news even though Aftonbladet chose to publish the article in June 2011.  Israel later repaired the power station even while its technicians were under sniper fire, yet this is, of course, something which Olof Svensson fails to acknowledge.
While this plant is often described as Gaza’s only power plant, it is important to note that 70% of Gaza’s electricity is supplied by Israel, and also Egypt supplies additional electricity. Israel supplies the electricity to Gaza continually, even during hostilities. Significantly, a 2007 UN report noted that Israeli electricity costs less than the Gaza-produced electricity, because the Gaza plant uses diesel to generate electricity. (That’s pretty interesting since you would think the Palestinians’ OPEC supporters could give them a discount on the diesel.)
-“The plant has actually been used at lower utilization rates than anticipated, partly because of the high cost of power from the plant when it is run on gasoil [diesel] relative to the cost of power from IEC [Israel Electric Corporation]. In June 2006, for example, the cost of fuel for generating electricity from GPP (including capacity charge) was US$0.213/kWh… whereas the cost of power supplied by IEC was about US$0.08/kWh.”

The UN report also noted that “About half of the current annual payment of about US$30 million is for generating capacity that cannot be used because of the prevailing transmission constraints.” So, besides poor planning, what are donors paying out for? And how is the surplus cash used?

Claims of power outages in Gaza have generally been propaganda exercises—the photo at the top from Honest Reporting shows Palestinians “in the dark” with candles, while at the left edge of the photo, sunlight streams in the window around the curtains. Other photos available on the internet show candle-lit street protests, but with lights on in shops.  The fact that major media outlets carry these obvious fakes is pretty outrageous.
But an actual blackout was reported by the Elder of Zion (EoZ) blog at the end of April; the post was titled Hamas instructs its media not to report on Syria” and cited  Firas Press and other Arabic news sources”  which claim Hamas initiated a media blackout on the uprising in Syria:
“Reliable sources close to media officials in Hamas [state] that they have issued strict instructions to all departments, editors of all news sites, forums, and radio TV that belongs to them not to cover or publish any news about events taking place in Syria and massacres there against unarmed citizens.”
Why is this significant to our story? The situation is desperate in Syria.  As EoZ quotes from a Now Lebanon tweeter reporting on the situation in Syria:
“Electricity is only available for three hours per day at the most. There is water available in Daraa al-Mahatta. Telecommunications are cut in the entire province of Daraa without exception. Electricity, water, food, and communications are still cut in Daraa al-Balad. Trash is lying around uncollected and the snipers are still deployed in the mosque minarets and on buildings’ rooftops. The [Syrian]army and security forces have not withdrawn from Daraa.”
That’s a blackout Aftonbladet should have covered. But, given the dictatorial sympathies of the biased government-supported media in Sweden and the leftist enthusiasm for the second Flotilla, we can soon expect to see even more misleading and false stories about Israel in the Swedish media.

Video: Israel reconstructs Gaza infrastructure including electric power 70% of which is generated in Israel and which was continually supplied.

by Chanah Shapira

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