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The Latest: Gaza power plant shuts down, causes blackouts

Posted July 13

— The Latest on developments concerning Israel and the Palestinians (all times local):

1:30 p.m.

Gaza's power distribution company says supplies to the territory's 2 million residents have dropped to unprecedented lows, with blackouts lasting for more than 24 hours.

While the Palestinian enclave needs at least 400 megawatts of power a day, only 70 are available since Gaza's power plant shut down late Wednesday.

Diesel fuel from neighboring Egypt had kept the station running at half capacity since June 21, but deliveries were interrupted after a deadly attack on Egyptian soldiers last week near the border.

Israel, the main provider of power to Gaza, has cut shipments at the request of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The Palestinian leader is trying to put pressure on Gaza's Hamas rulers. The militant group seized control of Gaza from Abbas' forces a decade ago.

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12:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump's Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt announces that Israel and the Palestinians have reached a water agreement linked to a massive planned Red Sea-Dead Sea pipeline project.

Greenblatt said at a press conference in Jerusalem on Wednesday that the U.S.-mediated deal gives the parched Palestinian territories 32 million cubic meters (42 million cubic yards) of water per year. Israel will start to provide the West Bank and Gaza Strip with the water the immediate future at a reduced rate. That water will eventually be supplied by a desalination plant linked to Red Sea-Dead Sea pipeline.

The pipeline project is expected to be completed in four or five years.

The U.S., Israeli and Palestinian negotiators hope the deal could be a platform for future negotiations.

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10:05 a.m.

Israel's cabinet has frozen a plan to expand the West Bank's most densely populated Palestinian city by ceding military control over a parcel of land, a proposed concession that has outraged settler leaders.

A spokesman from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said Wednesday that the government will deliberate the issue of Palestinian development in Israeli military controlled areas of the West Bank later this month. Until then, the proposal to grant a part of Area C to allow the expansion of the city of Qalqiliya will be on hold.

Last year, Netanyahu's government quietly passed the eagerly awaited plan to allow the Palestinian city to double its size by expanding into off-limits land in Area C. Since then, settler leaders have railed against the move, calling it a "reward for terror."

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