15 November 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

Ten Human Rights Organizations File Urgent Motion to Supreme Court Seeking Injunction to Prevent Israeli Government from Blacking Out Gaza

On 15 November 2007, ten human rights organizations filed an urgent motion to the Supreme Court of Israel, requesting the issuance of an injunction to prevent the Defense Minister from cutting, reducing, limiting or disrupting in any way the supply of electricity and fuel to the Gaza Strip. The motion was filed after the Attorney General's Office failed to comply with the orders issued by the Supreme Court to provide data to support its claim that cutting fuel and electricity supplies will have only a slight effect on the humanitarian situation in Gaza, and failed to submit a response regarding the means at its disposal to safeguard the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Last week, Chief Justice Dorit Beinisch ordered the state to submit a response to the petition filed by the human rights organizations by 14 November 2007. However, the petitioners were surprised to learn from the media today that an agreement had been reached in principle to reduce the supply of fuel and electricity to Gaza, and that the state had begun preparations for its implementation.

The petitioners argued that the reduction in the supply of fuel to Gaza has begun to impede the operation of vital systems in the Gaza Strip. For example, a water company in Gaza has ceased operating some of the water wells that require fuel, and thus the supply of clean water to a portion of Gaza's population has been disrupted. The petitioners added that the state lacks the means to control the consequences of the reduction of fuel and electricity supplies.

According to Attorney Sari Bashi of Gisha, “We have no evidence to support the state's claim that the sanctions will not harm the population of Gaza. On the contrary, damage has already been caused by the application of the sanctions, in particular to the availability of clean drinking water, as well as the civilian infrastructure.”

Adalah Attorney Fatmeh El-‘Ajou emphasizes that, “Cutting off electricity endangers the lives of the population of Gaza and reveals the state's contempt for the decisions of the Supreme Court.”

H.C. 9132/07, Jaber al-Basyouni Ahmed v. The Prime Minister (pending)

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