28 October 2007
Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel * Gisha - Legal Center for Freedom of Movement * HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual * Physicians for Human Rights-Israel
* The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights * The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel * Gaza Community Mental Health Programme * B'Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories * Al-Haq * Al Mezan Center for Human Rights
Human Rights Organizations Petition Supreme Court Demanding an Injunction against Israeli Government to Prevent Disruption to Supply of Electricity and Fuel to Gaza
The Government Openly Decides, Apparently for the First Time, to Impose Collective Punishment on 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip; Petitioners: The Decision is Illegal and will Damage the Health, Safety and Welfare of the Population of Gaza
Ten Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations, in cooperation with the deputy director of a water company for towns along the coast of Gaza and a farmer from Beit Hanoun, petitioned the Supreme Court of Israel on 28 October 2007. The petitioners demanded the immediate issuance of an injunction against the Minister of Public Security and the Prime Minister to prevent them from disrupting the supply of electricity and fuel to the Gaza Strip. The petitioners argued that the government's recent decision to interrupt electricity and fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip is illegal, and if implemented, would endanger innocent civilians. Following the filing of the petition, the Supreme Court ordered the state to file its response to the petition within five days.
The petitioners argued that, contrary to the government's claims that the population of Gaza will be only slightly harmed, the implementation of this decision could cause widespread humanitarian damage. It is likely to endanger the functioning of hospitals and sewage and water services, and will interrupt the operation of medical equipment as well as vital household electrical equipment such as refrigerators, including those needed to refrigerate essential medical supplies. “The damage that will be inflicted by the disrupting of electricity and fuel supplies cannot be controlled, nor can its consequences. Deliberately obstructing the civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip is illegal. International law does not allow “minor” damage: It bans collective punishment entirely,” argued the petitioners.
The petitioners emphasized the dependency of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Israel for their electricity and fuel needs. “The state's claim that the population of Gaza should provide electricity for themselves is astonishing. In the decades of Israel's direct control of Gaza, it permitted the establishment of an electricity network with an extremely limited capacity (which can provide Gaza with just 38% of the electricity that its population needs). After implementing the ‘disengagement' from Gaza, Israel bombed the local power plant … this behavior imposes duties on Israel towards the population of the Gaza Strip in general, and in the field of electricity supply in particular.”
The human rights organizations demanded that the Supreme Court issue an immediate injunction to freeze the aforementioned governmental decision pending an examination of the petition. A number of media reports indicated Israel's intention to implement this decision as early as today.
H.C. 9132, Jaber al-Basyouni Ahmed v. The Prime Minister (pending)