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Oxfam Urges Israel to Allow Greater Amounts of Gas into Gaza

November 27, 2009

The world-renowned aid and development agency Oxfam International made a public appeal to Israeli authorities this Monday, calling on them to increase the supply of cooking gas allowed into Gaza ahead of the Eid al-Adha celebration that will begin this Friday.

Oxfam’s call comes at a time when, due to Israeli policy, gas supplies in Gaza are drastically low.  According to Oxfam, Israel allowed a total of 2500 tons of gas to cross into Gaza in September, with this number dropping to 1700 in October and 697 thus far this month.  The dramatic drop-off comes as  a result of Israel’s recent determination that gas supplies are now to be transferred into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing instead of the Nahal Oz cross-point.  Oxfam reports that Kerem Shalom has a maximum gas-transfer capacity of only 100 tons per day and no storage facilities, whereas Nahal Oz had a daily capacity four times as great as well as options for storage.

Gaza’s Ministry of Health is functioning on merely one-third of its gas needs.  Oxfam notes with caution that this may result in Gazan hospitals’ having to close cooking and laundry facilities, with the associated detrimental effects on hygiene and overall service that would follow.

Oxfam closes its appeal by citing the Gaza union of gas-station owners, who estimate that the Gazan population needs at least 4500 tons of gas per month in the summer and 6000 per month in the winter.

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