NGO demands gov't supply fuel to Gaza

86 truckloads of food, medicine allowed into Gaza Strip.

Karni crossing 88 224 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Karni crossing 88 224
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The state has violated its word to the High Court of Justice regarding the supply of industrial diesel and other fuel to the Gaza Strip by almost completely closing the fuel terminal at Nahal Oz since Hamas killed two Israeli civilian fuel workers there on April 9, an NGO charged on Tuesday. Also on Tuesday, Israel opened the Sufa and Erez crossings to allow humanitarian aid into the Strip and to enable sick Palestinians to enter Israel for medical treatment. In a letter to Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz, Gisha, the Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, warned that the reserves of industrial diesel required to power the Gaza Strip's only power station had run out, "and unless the supply is resumed, the station will be forced to stop producing electricity tomorrow [Wednesday] evening." Gisha director-general Sari Bashi told Mazuz she had informed the Defense Ministry of the situation but had received no response. She demanded that Mazuz tell Gisha what the state intended to do by 5 p.m. on Tuesday so that she could determine her next step. Bashi indicated that she intended to petition the High Court, likely alleging contempt of court, for the state's supposed violation of the promise it made to the High Court following a petition filed on October 28. Gisha filed the petition after the state had announced it would reduce fuel and electricity supplies to the Gaza Strip. According to Bashi, Israel closed the fuel terminal following the early morning attack on April 9 until and including April 15. On April 16 and 17, it allowed 1.6 million liters of industrial diesel and cooking gas into the Gaza Strip. Since then, the terminal has been closed altogether. She wrote that "preventing the transfer of fuel constitutes a violation of the promise made to the Supreme Court in High Court Petition 9132/07 to the effect that the state would not halt the transfer of fuel and would allow a specified amount each week." In its verdict in that petition, the High Court noted that the state had promised to allow 2.2 million liters of industrial fuel into the Gaza Strip each week to operate the power station. Gisha spokesman Itamar Shachar told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday evening that the attorney-general had informed the organization it would try to resolve the issue in the next two days. Eighty-six trucks filled with supplies were allowed to unload their goods into the Gaza Strip, three days after Hamas carried out an ambitious but failed attack against the Kerem Shalom crossing to the southern Strip. Israel has decided to keep Kerem Shalom closed until after Pessah, on Sunday. The trucks allowed into Gaza contained basic foods such as fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, flour and sugar. Medicine was also transferred. Hours before the crossings were opened, IDF soldiers foiled a Hamas attack against the Erez crossing to northern Gaza, through which sick Palestinians were allowed into Israel on Tuesday. The attack was thwarted when an aircraft fired a missile at three gunmen who were spotted approaching the border fence near the Erez border terminal. Soldiers later found anti-tank missiles, rifles and grenades in the gunmen's possession.