As the state’s deadline to cut electricity to Gaza nears, Supreme Court to Hear Petition Against Sanctions Imposed on the Gaza Strip.

Adalah and Gisha: "With unbearable ease, the State is playing with the welfare of human beings"

Wed., November 28, 2007 -Tomorrow, Thursday (Nov. 29, 2007) 9:00 AM, the Supreme Court of Israel will hold a hearing on a petition filed by ten human rights groups and residents of Gaza, against the Israeli government’s decision to disrupt the supplies of fuel and electricity to the Gaza Strip. The hearing takes place on the backdrop of the announcement to reduce electricity supply to the Strip starting December 2nd, along with the ongoing reduction of fuel supplies to Gaza.

Adalah and Gisha argue that the reduction in fuel supplies is already causing extensive damage to vital systems in Gaza. The operation of water wells has been interrupted, and 250,000 people are already suffering from disruptions in supply of drinking water. Reduction in electricity supply will inevitably cause power outages to hospitals and other systems.

In a response filed to the court yesterday, the petitioners emphasized that the disruptions to the supply of essential goods and services constitute collective punishment, since Israel does not permit Gaza residents to obtain these goods and services from an alternative source. The petitioners strongly contested the state’s claim that it is bound to safeguard only “a minimal humanitarian level” in Gaza, a definition that contradicts international law, which obliges Israeli to respect the full panoply of rights of the population, and forbids Israel from deliberately violating these rights.

According to Adalah Attorney Fatmeh El-‘Ajou, “Contrary to its claims, Israel cannot control the consequences of the reduction in fuel and electricity supplies; international law imposes practical duties on Israel towards the Palestinians in Gaza, which compel it to preserve the safety, lives and welfare of the population.”

Attorney Sari Bashi of Gisha stresses that, “The Supreme Court, like international courts, has never approved of inflicting deliberate harm on civilians. Intentionally disrupting supplies of essential materials to 1.5 million people is blatantly illegal.”

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 Mezan Center for Human Rights