IDF official: 'Gaza sanctions not working'

Senior IDF officer slams Barak, says Israel must "step up sanctions or call off policy."

gaza fuel good 298 (photo credit: AP)
gaza fuel good 298
(photo credit: AP)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak's decision to implement a list of sanctions against the Gaza Strip - including periodic electricity blackouts and cuts to fuel supplies - has not achieved the desired effect, a senior IDF officer has told The Jerusalem Post. According to the officer, Kassams are still being fired at southern Israel while people in Gaza are still driving. "There hasn't been a single complaint from the Palestinians," he noted. The officer said something must happen in order for the plan to succeed. "Either step up the sanctions or call off the policy because at present, it's doing nothing." Last week, the Justice Ministry confirmed that Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz had approved in principle a plan to reduce the supply of electricity to the Gaza Strip in retaliation for Kassam attacks, on condition that the flow is not completely cut off at any time and that residents are given ample warning to forestall any possible humanitarian crisis. According to the Justice Ministry statement, Deputy Attorney-General Malchiel Balass told a special planning committee headed by the Defense Ministry that Mazuz would approve the sanction if the army used regulators to diminish the flow of electricity according to a controlled system. "In that way," media adviser Moshe Cohen wrote, "there will be a guarantee that the electricity supply is reduced but not completely cut off so that the harm caused will be the minimum necessary to safeguard humanitarian needs. This is in keeping with international law and the decision of the government which stated that the measures taken against Gaza would not cause humanitarian harm." Mazuz was referring to the government decision of September 19 which declared Gaza a 'hostile territory' and declared that it would take punitive measures, including imposing heavier restrictions on movement of civilians through the border crossings and cutbacks on the supply of power and fuel, in retaliation for Kassam attacks. Israel directly supplies 62.5 percent of Gaza's electricity and exports fuel which accounts for another 28% of Gaza's power supply.