On Sunday, December 3, Israeli army spokesman Doron Spielman published a video featuring part of his interview with Sky News. During the interview, a journalist asked him about the map published by the Israeli army showing the partition of the Gaza strip and the areas instructed by the army to be evacuated. The journalist asked how Gaza inhabitants were supposed to see the map without electricity to charge their phones and connect to the internet?
Doron Spielman: Gaza Inhabitants Have Enough Electricity To Charge Their Phones
Spielman answered the journalist by pointing out that everyone saw hundreds of Gazans filming the scenes of detainees being handed over during the temporary truce period. According to Spielman, it is obvious that the residents of the Gaza Strip seemingly had enough energy to charge their phones while “filming our hostages." He suggested that this same energy might be utilized by them to access and download the map onto their phones to view it.
However, the accuracy of these statements is questionable. Does every resident of the Gaza Strip truly have access to electricity, as claimed by the Israeli army spokesman?
Israel Declared the Cutting off of Water, Electricity, and Fuel Supplies in Gaza
Spielman’s latest statements contradicted those made by Israeli Defense minister Yoav Gallant on October 8, in which he said, “We imposed a complete siege on the Gaza strip, we cut off electricity, water, food and fuel," further adding, “We are fighting human animals."
The Gaza electricity distribution company confirmed during an interview with Al-Arabi TV on October 11, the fifth day of the Israeli war on the strip, that the power station had completely stopped. They confirmed that electricity had been cut off throughout the strip after recurring outages during the first days of the war.
Journalists’ Testimonies About Charging Phones During the War
To verify the Israeli army’s claim that the residents of Gaza have enough electricity to charge their phones, Misbar contacted a number of journalists in Gaza. They confirmed that there was no electricity supply in all areas of the strip and that they depend on solar generators to charge their phones.
Misbar contacted journalist Hind Al-Khoudari, she said, "After the third day of the war on the Gaza strip, the electricity was completely cut off .” She pointed out that inhabitants and journalists rely entirely on solar energy to charge their phones, stressing that it is only available in some public institutions such as hospitals, which are still working despite the difficult conditions there.
Al-Khoudari provided Misbar with a recent photo documenting herself and a group of journalists charging their mobile phones through power generators.
Journalist Abdul Hakim Abu Rayash also provided Misbar with similar images, documenting that he documenting citizens in Shujaiya during the Gaza war, illustrating how they charged their phones by relying on generators. He pointed out that inhabitants from all regions sought out any location with an electric generator or solar energy to charge their phones.
Similarly, journalist Mohamed Awad posted a video on his Instagram account on November 4, showing a number of inhabitants gathering around power generators to charge their phones.
Awad informed Misbar that he filmed the video at Nasser Hospital in the city of Khan Yunis, where the electricity remained cut off until the moment they contacted him. He mentioned that they were compelled to gather in the hospital due to the presence of some generators, enabling them to charge their phones and communicate with their families in other areas.
Photographer Omar Al-Derawi, permanently based at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, reported to Misbar that he used generators not only to charge his phone but also because his house was bombed by Israeli raids. He added that charging via generators was a slow process and took considerable time.
The situation was similar in the far south of the Gaza strip, in the city of Rafah, where Misbar contacted journalist Ahmed Al-Arja, who said that he had to wait for approximately three hours daily in a mosque to charge his phone due to the presence of an electricity generator there.
Journalist Hamza Hamad, presently in the north of the Gaza strip, explained to Misbar that recently, batteries were being charged through small generators running on fuel, and phones were being charged using these batteries. Hamad emphasized that this fuel was newly arrived to Gaza during the temporary truce, noting that large areas in the strip lacked fuel or even solar energy.
Engineer Walid Sayel Talks to Misbar About Electricity Supply in Gaza
In a statement he gave to Misbar, engineer Walid Sayel, the executive director of the Palestine Electricity Company, said that electricity has been completely cut off from the Gaza strip currently and since the start of the war, and this fact is known by international institutions.
"Israel used to supply 125 megawatts before the war. However, the power station stopped operating two days before the war due to a lack of fuel. Up to the present day, not a single liter of oil has been delivered," he added.
Regarding the usage of phones by Gaza inhabitants, Sayel stated: "some households have resorted to using solar energy and individual generators due to pre-existing electricity issues in Gaza. The electricity supply that reached Gaza did not meet the needs of its residents. Consequently, for years, citizens have been seeking alternative solutions to fulfill their basic needs."
Electricity Crisis in Gaza
Gaza has been grappling with an ongoing electricity crisis for years. The International Committee of the Red Cross has documented that the levels of electrical power and fuel in Gaza have reached a critical stage, endangering the provision of essential services such as healthcare, wastewater treatment, and clean water supplies. In a report published in 2017, it was highlighted that, at best, residents of Gaza receive electricity for only about 6 hours a day.
This crisis worsens significantly with any major fluctuations in temperatures. For instance, a heatwave in July resulted in power cuts exceeding 10 hours per day, followed by a mere 5 hours during which the strip receives electricity.