On Monday, August 26, 2019, Israel announced its decision to limit the transfer of fuel used to generate electricity at the Gaza Strip’s sole power plant. According to reports, Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Benjamin Netanyahu decided Israel would only enable the transfer of half the quantity of fuel destined for the plant “until further notice.”

In response to the decision, Gisha sent an urgent letter (Hebrew) to Israeli Prime Minister and Minister of Defense (MoD) Benjamin Netanyahu, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Brig. Gen. (res.) Kamil Abu Rokon, calling for the measure of illegal collective punishment to be reversed immediately.

“The decision to reduce the transfer of fuel is intentionally intended to harm the innocent civilian population, and is a measure that cannot be justified for any reason,” stated the letter from Gisha.

Later that day, Israeli Members of Knesset Ofer Cassif and Aida Touma-Suleiman also sent an urgent letter (Hebrew) to the MoD, COGAT, and the Attorney General, reiterating Gisha’s demand to cancel the reduction in transfer of fuel to the Strip. “The reduction is expected to harm all aspects of life in the Strip, including the health and education systems, sewage disposal, water distribution, and sanitation,” they wrote. “These systems are already on the verge of collapse in light of the acute shortage of fuel in the Strip.”

Deliberate or indiscriminate rocket fire on civilian population centers is a breach of international law. However, the imposition of punitive measures against the civilian population in the Strip also constitutes a serious violation of international law based on the same principle of protection of civilians.

Israel must reverse this wrongful measure immediately and renew the full transfer of fuel to the Strip.