Mazuz okays electricity cuts to Gaza

A-G says cuts to begin December 2; Israel will monitor situation to prevent humanitarian crisis.

gaza city night 224 88 (photo credit: AP)
gaza city night 224 88
(photo credit: AP)
Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz on Thursday approved the Defense Ministry's plan to begin reducing the flow of electricity to the Gaza Strip as of December 2 in retaliation for Kassam attacks. In a statement to the High Court of Justice, Mazuz said that he had approved the security establishment's plan to use regulators in order to diminish the flow of electricity according to a controlled system. In October, Mazuz had rejected the Defense Ministry's initial decision to completely cut off electricity to the strip, citing humanitarian concerns. In his statement Thursday, Mazuz said the Palestinians would be given a week's notice of the power cut downs and the situation in the Gaza Strip would be monitored, in order to prevent the development of a humanitarian crisis as a result of the move. The Gaza Strip was declared a 'hostile territory' by the government in September. Leaders then said Israel would take punitive measures against Gaza, including imposing heavier restrictions on movement of civilians through the border crossings and cutbacks on the supply of power and fuel. The statement on Thursday was a response to petitions filed in the court by two Gaza residents and 10 human rights organizations, who charged that the cuts constituted indiscriminate collective punishment and that the reductions could threaten hospitals, the sewage system, refrigerators containing food and medicines, home-based medical equipment and humanitarian items. Israel directly supplies 62.5 percent of Gaza's electricity and exports fuel which accounts for another 28% of Gaza's power supply. Dan Izenberg contributed to this report.