OPT: Gaza power plant will close by weekend without more fuel from Israel - UN

Israel opened its fuel crossing point with the Gaza Strip today but closed it again after less than 230,000 litres were delivered, citing ongoing clashes on the Gaza side, United Nations officials reported.

If no industrial fuel deliveries are allowed in tomorrow, Gaza's power plant will have to be switched off this weekend, the UN Office of the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) said.

Apart from the fuel crossing, all Gaza commercial crossings remained closed today for the seventh day in a row, with no humanitarian or commercial commodities being allowed in.

UNSCO said there were concerns in Gaza over the growing shortage of cooking gas and a number of bakeries have been forced to shut down, leading to worries over the availability of bread.

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said the current blockade of Gaza is affecting its operations "as never before." Materials prevented from entering Gaza include linens for a centre for blind children, textbooks for young students, and fire extinguishers.

UNRWA said yesterday that food distributions to 750,000 people in the Strip, about half the total population there, would end on Thursday unless critical supplies, including wheat, powdered milk and oil, were allowed in.

Meanwhile the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has drawn up a blueprint for "after-care" strategy to retain and expand investment in the occupied Palestinian territory by tending to investors' immediate and long-term business development needs.

"With only $27 million in average annual inflows of foreign direct investment to the territory since 2002, there is a need to take care of existing investors - foreign and domestic - that could not be clearer," UNCTAD said.