Following threats of violence from Hamas over Israel’s decision to cut back on electricity to Gaza, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu denied that Israel is seeking to provoke a military confrontation.
“We have no interest in an escalation [of violence] and any other interpretation is erroneous,” Netanyahu said Tuesday.
He reprised what other Israeli officials have been saying in recent days as well, that Israel is not a party to the problem of the electricity supply in the Hamas-run enclave.
“The issue of electricity in Gaza is a dispute between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas,” Netanyahu said. “Hamas is demanding that the PA pay for the electricity, and the Palestinian Authority is refusing to pay. It is an internal Palestinian dispute.”
The power reduction authorized by the cabinet would result in about 45 minutes less electricity to Gaza every day. The Gazans receive only 3 to 4 hours daily as it is.
Fueling Hamas accusations of deliberate Israeli provocation was a report in Haaretz which quoted a member of the security cabinet to the effect that IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot warned the ministers that such a power cut could trigger more violence while welcoming the pressure on Hamas.
Hamas said Monday that a cutback would have “disastrous and dangerous” consequences, without specifying what they might be.