Israel cut off the only source of fuel for Gaza's 1.4 million people Thursday after Wednesday's deadly attack on the only fuel transfer point into the territory.
But Israeli defense officials indicated that the cutoff would not last past the weekend.
Nir Press, commander of the military liaison unit for Gaza, said Hamas takes about half the fuel transferred to the Gaza Strip.
Hussein al-Sheikh, a PA official, confirmed to Haaretz that Hamas seizes half the amount of fuel transferred by Israel to the Strip. The amount confiscated is approximately 400,000 of the 800,000 liters of diesel transferred to Gaza weekly and intended for uses such as generators, hospitals, water pumps and sewage pumps. In contrast, Hamas uses this fuel for militant purposes.
Israeli sources said Hamas was preventing the pumping of all the fuel from the Nahal Oz depot's reserves and funneling it to the Strip's gas stations. In the past week, only a small amount of fuel and diesel was pumped from the depot, leaving some 820,000 liters of diesel and 200,000 of gas in the depots, they said.
"Hamas is trying to create a false fuel crisis in the Gaza Strip," a senior government source said. "The simulated strike by Gaza's gas-station owners is also organized by Hamas. They want to create long lines for gas and a feeling that Israel is tightening the siege on Gaza, although this is not the case," he said.
Israel has discussed the situation with European Union officials in charge of financing Gaza's fuel.
Israeli sources said they were concerned that in addition to fuel, Hamas would try to create the impression of a food shortage, although food supplies were sufficient.
Also Thursday, a hair-dressing salon in the center of Gaza City was blown up before dawn, apparently by religious zealots.