Court criticizes state for misinformation on Gaza

Court censure stems from gov't plan to reduce amount of electricity in the Gaza Strip.

electricity work 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
electricity work 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The High Court of Justice has sharply criticized the state for providing incorrect information regarding its plans to reduce the amount of electricity it supplies to the Gaza Strip. In a decision handed down on Tuesday, the court wrote that "it appears that prior to appearing before us, the state did not conduct a proper examination of the facts. The course of events is puzzling." The court's decision came in response to a brief submitted by the court on December 19. The aim of the brief was to correct an earlier one submitted by the state on November 28, one day before a hearing on a petition filed by Gaza residents and 10 human rights organizations. The petitioners protested the government's decision to cut electricity and fuel supplies to Gaza as punishment for the Kassam rocket attacks against Israel. In the earlier brief, the state informed the court it would reduce electricity in four main lines by 5 percent each, from 400 to 380 amperes. But three weeks later, the state corrected itself, saying it had received updated information according to which two of the four lines had been reduced at the beginning of 2007 from 400 amperes to 330, that is, 50 amperes more than the state had intended to cut as a punitive measure. The court said it would reconvene to discuss the petition in the second half of January. In addition to criticizing the state for submitting incorrect information, the court instructed it to reply to four questions it had asked at the end of the November 29 hearing. The questions were meant to help the court determine whether the sanctions the state intended to apply would violate the basic humanitarian needs of the Palestinians in Gaza. Meanwhile, the state has informed the petitioners that it intends to raise the fuel cuts to Gaza from 15 or 20 percent (according to various estimations) to 43 percent. The court had already approved the initial reduction.