Israel restoring Gaza fuel supply

State ends fuel sanctions immediately; Friedmann blasts High Court ruling on Gaza petitions.

gaza fuel cut 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
gaza fuel cut 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Israel will resume the supply of industrial-use diesel to the Gaza Strip according to levels set prior to the blockade imposed earlier this month in order to meet the basic humanitarian needs of the civilian population, the state told the High Court of Justice on Sunday. The move, which was effective immediately, followed an appeal filed by human rights groups to force the government to end the blockade. The groups which petitioned the High Court, headed by the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, argued that Israel was carrying out "collective punishment" by imposing such a blockade, and was unfairly harming Gaza's civilian population. "The state is collectively punishing the citizens of Gaza in violation of international law," said attorney Fatma al-Azu on behalf of the petitioners. The fuel is needed to run Gaza City's power plant, which had shut down after Israel imposed a complete closure on Gaza last week in response to continuing Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel. The state told the court that if rocket attacks increase again, Israel will consider limiting the supplies once again. The petitioners, however, felt that the state's offer was insufficient and demanded an end to all facets of the blockade. After both sides presented their cases in court, the session was adjourned without a ruling and no date was set for the court's decision. Meanwhile, Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann criticized the willingness of the High Court to hear the petitions. "Sometimes I don't know if Israel fares better in an international forum or in the High Court of Justice," Friedmann said at the weekly cabinet meeting.