Gaza power reductions set to begin

State will begin reducing flow in three of ten power lines following High Court's approval.

electricity work 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
electricity work 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Israel will begin reducing on Thursday night the amount of electricity it supplies to the Gaza Strip, as part of punitive measures against the Hamas government there. The power cutback was made possible last week, when the High Court of Justice turned down appeals by several human rights groups against the planned sanctions. According to a plan submitted to the High Court in response to the appeals, the IDF will reduce the flow of power in three of the 10 power lines used to supply Gaza with electricity. "The defense minister is of the opinion that the continued reduction of fuel supplies... cuts to the electricity flow, and the range of combat operations that are being carried out may assist Israel in the war it is waging against the terror organization that rules the Strip," the State Attorney's Office had said in its response to the appeals. "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. The court said Israel was "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 initial electricity cut was planned to reduce the flow in one of the power lines by 5 percent, and in the next two weeks, 5% of the power in two additional lines was expected be cut. 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. AP contributed to this report.