UK applauds resumed fuel flow to Gaza

British ministers say humanitarian needs of those not linked to rocket attacks mustn't be compromised.

david miliband 224.88 (photo credit: )
david miliband 224.88
(photo credit: )
Britain on Friday applauded Israel's decision to restore diesel fuel supply to the Gaza Strip to normal levels. In a statement, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and Minister for International Development Douglas Alexander said the UK welcomed "Israel's recent decision to increase the supply of industrial diesel and continues to urge them to lift all restrictions on fuel with immediate effect." The two also approved of the "recent lifting of the restrictions on non-industrial diesel, important for back-up generators and ambulances, and hope that this will not be reversed." However, the statement also stressed that Britain was "deeply concerned by the growing humanitarian impact of restrictions by the Government of Israel on industrial diesel supplies to Gaza, particularly on the most vulnerable sections of the population." While the ministers said they "utterly condemn" rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel, "the humanitarian needs of people who are in no way associated with the rocket attacks should not…be compromised." Defense Minister Ehud Barak has approved supplying the Strip with 2.2 million liters of diesel fuel per week - the amount supplied before Israel began taking steps to cut fuel and other infrastructure essentials in an effort to stifle Hamas. The decision was part of the state's reply to the Supreme Court to petitions submitted by the Gisha and Adala NGOs that both demanded an injunction forcing the state not to cut the supplies. The State Prosecution refused to admit that the decision was made to prevent the court from issuing an injunction, and claimed the move followed routine assessments made by the Defense Ministry. The State Prosecution explained that as the state was committed to monitoring conditions in Gaza and ensuring a minimum of humanitarian aid to prevent a crisis, the renewed supplies would be enough to maintain electricity flow to institutions such as hospitals and infirmaries. Meanwhile, the petitioners claimed that "Israel, which controls the Gaza borders, cynically uses the population's total dependence on it for essentials such as fuel and electricity. The state is tightening the noose of collective punishment and only when the residents of Gaza start gasping for air does it loosen its grip slightly."