Court upholds cuts to Gaza electricity

Supreme Court rejects human rights groups' appeal, says Gaza controlled by "murderous terror group."

power plant 224 88 (photo credit: Channel 10 [file])
power plant 224 88
(photo credit: Channel 10 [file])
The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the government's move to slash fuel and electricity supplies to the Gaza Strip. Human rights groups had challenged the sanctions, which are aimed at halting ongoing rocket fire by Gaza terrorists. Palestinian officials say the cutbacks have harmed Gaza's already impoverished residents by causing power shortages and crippling crucial utilities. Israel, which pulled out of Gaza in 2005, supplies all of Gaza's fuel and more than two-thirds of its electricity. As terrorists have continued to hit western Negev towns with daily rocket barrages, Israel has reduced fuel shipments but not the electricity it directly supplies. That stood to change after the court ruling Wednesday. "We emphasize that the Gaza Strip is controlled by a murderous terror group that operates incessantly to strike the state of Israel and its citizens, and violates every precept of international law with its violent actions," the three-judge panel wrote in its decision Wednesday. Israel will continue to supply some fuel and electricity, and the judges said those supplies would "fulfill the vital humanitarian needs of the Gaza Strip at this time." The court said Israel is "required to act against terror organizations in accordance with the norms of international law and abstain from deliberately harming the civilian population located in the Gaza Strip." The groups behind the court petition, Gisha and Adalah, condemned the court decision. "This is a dangerous legal precedent that allows Israel to continue to violate the rights of Gaza residents and deprive them of basic humanitarian needs in violation of international law," the groups said in a statement. Israel, with Egypt's cooperation, has blockaded Gaza since the Hamas takeover. This month, Israel tightened the sanctions in response to a spike in rocket fire, restricting some humanitarian supplies which had previously been allowed in and cutting off a trickle of commercial goods still making it into Gaza from Israel. Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, said Wednesday's decision "reflects the criminal, ugly face of the occupation."