Thursday, February 16, 2012

AP coverage of Gaza blackout even worse that Reuters

Yesterday I critiqued a Reuters article about the Gaza power plant shutdown for having some serious errors and even more serious omissions, especially about Hamas' culpability.

AP is even worse:
Palestinian energy officials say fuel shortages have forced them to shutter the Gaza Strip's lone power plant, causing blackouts in the impoverished territory.

Gaza's energy authority has until recently relied on fuel smuggled from Egypt to circumvent an Israeli blockade. But shortages in Egypt have halted the smuggling.
Israel never blockaded power plant fuel. As a matter of fact, about 90% of the power Gaza is getting today is coming from Israeli electrical lines.

This reporting is either very lazy or consciously anti-Israel. Either way, there is no excuse for a major news service to get the facts this wrong.

What is being left (almost) unreported is that Hamas is the party solely responsible for the crisis because they refuse to take fuel that Israel is willing to ship. And people's lives are in danger because of Hamas' decision:

Mr. Ashraf al-Qidra, Spokesman of the Ministry of Health, emphasized that more than 80% of patients in the Gaza Strip are threatened by a deterioration of their health conditions due to the power outages and the decreasing strategic stock of fuel required for the operation of electricity generators at hospitals and health care facilities. He further warned of a health disaster that may directly affect all patients in vital departments of hospitals whose treatment depend on the availability of electricity supplies, especially prematurely born infants in incubators, who are currently more than 100. Also at risk are more than 400 patients suffering from renal failure, including 15 children, who need dialyses twice or three times a week; and 66 patients who are currently placed in intensive care units. Al-Qidra indicated that 39 operation rooms, in addition to emergency and reception departments, gynecology departments, laboratories, and radiology departments in all hospitals of the Gaza Strip will become completely paralyzed if the crisis does not come to an end.

On its part, the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) warned in a statement published on its website on Tuesday, 14 February 2011, of its inability to supply water to people in appropriate amounts if the crisis of outages continues to persist. It pointed out that in spite of CMWU’s ongoing efforts to operate wells and pumping plants during periods of outages, they cannot solve the problem because it is impossible to establish consistency between schedules of water distribution and schedules of electricity distribution in various areas in the Gaza Strip due to the long periods of outages, which causes disruption in the regular program of supplying areas with water, and thus impacts all aspects of life of people in the Gaza Strip.