Israeli Supreme Court rules (Jan. 30, 2008) policy towards Gaza, fuel cuts, are legal; Gisha and Adalah reject ruling.
As the New York Times reported January 31, 2008, "The Israeli Supreme Court [on January 30] rejected an appeal to block Israel from further reducing supplies of fuel and electricity to the Gaza Strip." The appeal was brought by 10 human rights NGOs, led by Gisha and Adalah, and including B’Tselem, Al–Haq, Ha-Moked, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Gaza Community Mental Health Programme and the Al-Mezan Center.
The NGOs’ petition argued that Israel "had a legal obligation under international law to supply the citizens of Gaza" and that the cuts constituted "collective punishment" in violation of international law, by "deliberately targeting civilians."
In contrast, rejecting these arguments, Court president Dorit Beinisch ruled that,
"the Gaza Strip is controlled by a murderous terror group that operates incessantly to strike the State of Israel and its citizens, and violates every precept of international law with its violent actions…In the case of the attacks against Israel, the damage is not accidental, but rather a result of deliberate and frequent assaults on civilian populations which are aimed at harming innocent civilians..This is the difference between Israel — a democracy fighting for its life within the confines of the law — and the terrorist organizations trying to destroy it."
The Court’s ruling "allows the state to order a reduction in the electricity sold directly to Gaza by Israel’s electric company; to cut supplies of gasoline to Gaza to 75,400 liters a week, compared with the 400,000 liters a week that were delivered in October; and to cut supplies of diesel fuel to 800,000 liters a week, compared with 1.4 million in October."
Gisha and Adalah’s joint-response (Jan. 30, 2008) on behalf of the all 10 NGOs ignores the Court’s statements concerning terrorism emanating from Gaza and Israel’s right to self-defense. Their response repeats earlier charges. Sari Bashi, Director of Gisha, rejects the ruling, stating "This is an unprecedented decision authorizing collective punishment in its most blatant form. Hassan Jabarin, Director of Adalah, claimed, "According to the Supreme Court’s decision, it is permitted to harm Palestinian civilians and create a humanitarian crisis for political reasons. This constitutes a war crime under international criminal law."
For additional coverage, see also:
Ha’aretz, ‘High Court Okays reducing fuel and power supply to Gaza Strip‘, Jan. 30, 2008.
Ha’aretz, ‘, Jan. 30, 2008.
Associated Press (via Jerusalem Post), ‘Court Upholds Cuts to Gaza electricity’, Jan. 30, 2008.