A Petition against Disrupting the Supply of Electricity and Fuel to the Gaza Strip

Human Rights Organizations Petition the Supreme Court Demanding an Injunction against Disrupting the Supply of Electricity and Fuel to the Gaza Strip

The Government Openly Decides, Apparently for the First Time, to Impose Collective Punishment on 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip; Petitioners: The Decision is Illegal and will Damage the Health, Safety and Welfare of the Population of Gaza

Mon., October 29, 2007 – Ten Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations, in cooperation with the deputy director of a water company for towns along the Palestinian coast and a farmer from Beit Hanoun, petitioned the Supreme Court of Israel on 28 October 2007. The petitioners demanded the immediate issuance of an injunction preventing the Defense Minister and the Prime Minister from disrupting the supply of electricity and fuel to the Gaza Strip. The petitioners argued that the government decision to interrupt electricity and fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip is illegal, and if implemented – would endanger innocent civilians.

The petitioners argued that, contrary to the government’s claims that the population of Gaza will be only "slightly" harmed, implementing the government decision could cause widespread damage, because it endangers the functioning of hospitals, sewage pipes, and water pumps. The petitioners warned of the danger of interrupting the operation of medical equipment and vital household electrical equipment such as refrigerators, including those needed to refrigerate essential medical supplies. “The consequences of disrupting electricity and fuel supplies cannot be controlled or predicted. Deliberately obstructing the civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip is illegal. International law does not allow ‘minor’ punishment. It bans collective punishment entirely,” argued the petitioners.

The petitioners emphasized the dependency of the population of the Gaza Strip on Israel for their electricity and fuel needs. “The state’s claim that the population of Gaza should provide electricity for themselves is astonishing; In 38 years of Israel’s direct control of Gaza, it permitted the establishment of an electricity network with an extremely limited capacity (which can provide Gaza with just 38% of the electricity that its population needs). After implementing the ‘disengagement’ plan from Gaza, Israel bombed and destroyed that local power plant … this course of events imposes duties on Israel towards the population of the Gaza Strip in general, and in the field of electricity supply in particular.”

The human rights organizations demanded that the Supreme Court issue an immediate injunction to freeze the aforementioned governmental decision pending its hearing of the petition. A number of media reports indicated Israel’s intention to implement this decision as early as today.

Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel
Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement
HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel 
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights 
The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel
Gaza Community Mental Health Programme 
B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories
Al –Haq 
Mezan Center for Human Rights