By DIAA HADID, Associated Press Writer 50 minutes ago
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - The Gaza Strip's four main universities shut down Monday after officials said students couldn't get to class because of critical fuel shortages.
University officials said attendance rates were down by at least 60 percent Monday, prompting the closure. It affects more than 45,000 students and will last until Thursday.
Officials said they would put together an emergency education plan that could include conducting some lectures over the Internet and radio.
"This is a genuine crisis," said Ali al-Najjar, an official from Azhar University, which is affiliated with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement.
Except Dia Hadid, the author parsed the statement by Ali al-Najjar. AT the end of the article the author quotes al-Najjar as saying, "This is a catastrophe, but a part of it is created here," al-Najjar said.
The Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip is suffering crushing fuel shortages. Israel is Gaza's sole fuel provider, and in recent months, the Jewish state has reduced supplies to try to pressure Palestinian militants to halt their rocket fire into southern Israel.
Shortages were aggravated recently after Gaza fuel distributors stopped selling the reduced amounts that Israel was providing to protest the cutbacks. Israel then closed its only fuel transfer terminal last week after Palestinian gunmen attacked the site, killing two Israeli workers.
Hamas has seized on the shortages to play up Palestinian suffering. Many Palestinians in Gaza complain that Hamas is hoarding supplies — something the Islamic militant group denies.
An Israeli security official said the crisis was Hamas "propaganda" and that Hamas could solve the problem by picking up fuel supplies lying idle at the depot. The same author employing the exessive hyperbole (the "OMG" or "Chicken Little brand of journalism")now states after saying the Gazans were "suffering crushing fuel shortgaes " then says it a Hamas hoax created by Hamas to nefariously use their own people as pawns. In fact, the fuel is waiting idle in supply depots because the gas station owners won't sell the gas. Mostly under the new Hamas law, "You sell gasoline, you die." I hear it's a very effective rule.
Hamas has continued attacking Israeli forces along the border and firing rockets at Israeli towns, and allows Gaza's other militant factions to do the same.
A trip from the southern town of Rafah to Gaza City — where universities are located — used to cost $1.70. The same trip now costs between $2.80 to $4. Most of Gaza's 1.4 million residents live on less than $2 a day.
This means the average Gazan who is the average student at a Gazan university spends 85% of their daily wage to travel one way to school. They're running a deficit. Maybe they should become US Senators.