As the IDF was uncovering terror tunnels dug into Israeli territory by Hamas, plans for another “tunnel” were being made by Israel into Gaza – one that would allow for the construction of a gas pipeline to bring Israeli gas into Gaza for the operation of a power plant, according to Hamas sources. According to a report by the Ma’an News Agency, Israel was prepared to approve the pipeline, making it the second one between Israel and Gaza
A report in Globes said that Israel had already authorized the establishment of the power plant, as well as an additional plant in Jenin. Palestinian Authority officials will, in the coming months, issue a tender for the construction of the plants. The Jenin plant will generate 450 megawatts of electricity, the Globes report said.
Israel has been encouraging the construction of the plants in order to help the PA and Gaza deal with a chronic electricity shortage. Currently, the PA uses Israeli-supplied power, and it owes the Israel Electric Company some $400 million in unpaid power bills, resulting in occasional power cuts as the IEC tries to reclaim its money. Meanwhile, demand grows about six percent a year in the PA. Israel hopes that by managing its own power affairs, the PA will get its financial house in order.
Supplying electricity to Gaza is also apparently part of the deal Israel is making with Turkey for the resumption of full diplomatic relations with Israel. As part of the deal, Turkey has been demanding that Israel increase the amount of electricity available to Gaza. Turkey had proposed docking a Turkish ship off the coast of Gaza. The ship would contain a power plant that would supply power to Gaza. Israel has not rejected the proposal, as it did in 2014, when a similar proposal was made, Turkish media said. The proposal for a Gaza power plant based on Israeli natural gas is apparently a substitute for the previous proposal, Globes said.