Israeli Supreme Court Orders State to Explain Gaza Civilian Policy

Israeli Supreme Court Orders State to Explain Gaza Civilian Policy:

1. Why Not Permitting Evacuation of Wounded
2. Why Not Providing Electricity for Sewage and Water System

Fri., January 9, 2009 –  In a hearing in two court petitions submitted by human rights groups in Israel, the Supreme Court today ordered the state to explain why it was delaying permitting evacuation of those wounded in Gaza and why it was not permitting electricity supply to Gaza’s crumbling infrastructure. The court issued its interim decision following a hearing in which the human rights groups argued that Israel was failing to fulfill its commitment to the civilian population of Gaza, suffering from a collapse of humanitarian services, including medical care, water supply, and basic sanitation. The court gave the state four days, until January 13, to provide explanations.

In response to the court decision, the human rights groups said: "The wounded in Gaza and the half million people cut off from water supply cannot wait four days. Israel must fix these problems immediately."

The groups noted that international organizations declared a cessation of humanitarian operations Thursday following complaints by the ICRC about delays in evacuating patients and incidents in which UNRWA workers came under Israeli fire when trying to facilitate civilian supply. One UNRWA worker was reportedly killed Thursday. The groups demanded that the military refrain from attacking medical teams in Gaza, permit the wounded to be evacuated to hospitals, supply fuel and electricity to run Gaza’s hospitals, water wells, and sewage pumps, and permit technicians to fix the crumbling infrastructure.

In Gaza, more than half a million people have been without water supply for more than a week because of lack of electricity. Sewage has leaked into the streets, and Israel has not provided safe access for technicians seeking deliver fuel and to maintain and repair the system. UNRWA has refused to escort the technicians until Israel guarantees they will not come under IDF fire.

Association for Civil Rights in Israel 
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel 
The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel
Rabbis for Human Rights
Yesh Din