Thursday, February 7, 2008

Rights orgs: Israel escalating Gaza collective punishment measures

Press Release, Various undersigned, 6 February 2008

"Beginning tomorrow (Thursday, 7 February), Israel will reduce supplies of electricity it sells to Gaza, as part of punitive measures taken against Gaza's civilian population, with the approval of Israel's high court. The cutbacks to electricity were permitted after the court last week rejected a petition by ten Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations challenging Israel's planned reductions to the supplies of electricity and fuel it allows Gaza residents to purchase. The cuts violate international law, because they deliberately harm civilians and deprive them of the energy needed to run vital services. Virtually all of the Gaza Strip's energy is supplied by Israel, directly and indirectly.

This new cut in electricity supplies will exacerbate the punitive measures directed against civilians in Gaza, in violation of international law. The fuel and electricity cuts already applied are disrupting the ability of Gaza Strip residents to receive medical care, access clean water, pump sewage, heat and light their homes, and lead normal lives -- with no valid security rationale but rather to exert political pressure.......

International law forbids punishing individuals for acts that they did not personally commit. It also forbids targeting civilians. Under international law, all states are obligated to actively facilitate the passage of humanitarian supplies to civilians.

Undersigned organizations:
Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel
Gisha - Legal Center for Freedom of Movement
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel
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
Association for Civil Rights in Israel"

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