Elder of Ziyon just published a fascinating update on the widely reported story from late July, in which Gaza’s only power plant was allegedly completely “destroyed” by an Israeli missile strike.
Here’s how the Guardian covered the incident in a July 30th report by Harriet Sherwood.
Here are the relevant paragraphs from Sherwood’s report:
Flames and clouds of black smoke billowed over Gaza‘s only power plant on after it was destroyed during the most relentless and widespread Israeli bombardment of the current conflict. At least 100 people were killed on Tuesday, according to Gaza health officials.
“The power plant is finished,” said its director, Mohammed al-Sharif, signalling a new crisis for Gaza’s 1.8 million people, who were already enduring power cuts of more than 20 hours a day.
Amnesty International said the crippling of the power station amounted to “collective punishment of Palestinians”. The strike on the plant will worsen already severe problems with Gaza’s water supply, sewage treatment and power supplies to medical facilities.
“We need at least one year to repair the power plant, the turbines, the fuel tanks and the control room,” said Fathi Sheik Khalil of the Gaza energy authority. “Everything was burned.” He said crew members who had been trapped by the fire for several hours were evacuated.
Gaza City officials said damage to the power station could paralyse pumps and urged residents to ration water.
The Guardian also published a video report titled ‘Israel targets Hamas leader and power plant‘, which similarly omitted any mention that Israel denied targeting the plant. And, the Guardian’s Middle East editor, Ian Black, contextualized the story as providing evidence which makes it difficult for Israel to continue to “claim” that it doesn’t “intentionally target civilian infrastructure” in Gaza.
However, as Elder noted in today’s post, the “destroyed” power plant is about to come back online.
According to a report at Ma’an News Agency on September 14th, the plant is ready to begin running again – 46 weeks ahead of schedule!
Gaza’s only power plant is ready to begin running again as soon as a shipment of fuel arrives to the Strip, the plant’s executive manager said Saturday. Walid Saad Sayil said at a news conference that he was waiting on a response from President Mahmoud Abbas’ office on providing fuel to run the plant. Sayil expects to hear back from either Ramallah or Qatar within 48 hours regarding a fuel shipment, he said.
So, in summary, at the end of the day, contrary to Guardian reports on the incident:
- There appears to be no evidence that Israel targeted the power plant, or even that the plant was struck by an Israeli missile, and (based on the high percentage of errant terrorist rockets which fell inside Gaza) we should consider the possibility that a Hamas rocket may have inadvertently hit the plant.
- Whatever caused the damage to the power plant, the claim that the plant was completely “destroyed” appears to be a gross exaggeration.
- Claims that it would take “at least one year to repair the power plant” were obviously completely untrue.
We can of course expect a follow-up report by Sherwood on her original power plant story…
soon eventually never.