Friday, September 21, 2007
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
"JERUSALEM, 20 September 2007 (IRIN) - An Israeli cabinet decision on 19 September, which declared the Gaza Strip a "hostile entity" and which would allow the state to cut fuel and electricity supplies to the enclave, has been immediately condemned by aid and human rights organisations.....
Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said the decision is in line with international law and "it's not going to affect the humanitarian needs of the population in the Gaza Strip."
However, Oxfam International disagreed.
"Reducing the fuel supplies to a bare minimum [will] only increase the suffering of one and a half million people in Gaza, and constitutes collective punishment," said Jeremy Hobbs, the group's executive director, adding it would be "immoral and contrary to the Geneva Conventions".
Cutting power, legal experts said, would not distinguish between civilians and militants.
Israel maintains it has very limited responsibility for the Gaza Strip since its 2005 redeployment of troops and settlers from the territory. Amnesty International, however, believes the Jewish state, is "ultimately responsible for ensuring the welfare of the… Palestinians who live in the Gaza Strip", since it "retains effective control" over the area.
The Israeli human rights group Gisha said the decision was "dangerous, because operating rooms, emergency services, sewage pumps and water wells cannot run without electricity". "