State to reconsider cutting electricity and fuel to Gaza

State prosecutor tells High Court that action's effectiveness had been cast in doubt; decision comes after petition forced 3 week delay.

gaza fuel cut 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
gaza fuel cut 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
In response to a petition filed by Palestinians and human rights organizations, the State Attorney's Office informed the High Court of Justice on Wednesday that the government would reconsider its policy of cutting fuel and electricity supplies to the Gaza Strip. According to the state attorney, the government was beginning to doubt the effectiveness of the policy. He said that two years ago an agreement was reached between the electric company and the Palestinian Authority in which it was determined that the electricity supply to Gaza would be reduced by an even higher amount than the proposed sanctions. He added that due to miscommunication, the state was never informed about the deal. However, two of the organizations involved in the petition harshly criticized the state's response. They argued that ever since Israel bombed the power station in Gaza, hospitals in the area have had difficulty functioning, and residents have suffered from a shortage of water. On December 2, petitioners demanded that the High Court intervene in the matter, arguing that sanctions constituted collective punishment, which was against international law. They also charged that they would create severe humanitarian problems such as endangering "the functioning of the hospitals, the water and sewage systems, home medical equipment, refrigeration of food and medicine and other vital systems necessary to safeguard the health of the population." The High Court subsequently ordered the state to postpone their action by three weeks.