Israeli Rights Groups Condemn State Sanctions against Gaza Civilians

JERUSALEM – September 20, 2007 – A coalition of nine human rights organizations warn that yesterday’‘s cabinet decision to limit the electricity and fuel supply to the Gaza Strip and further restrict movement in and out of the region will exacerbate the existing humanitarian crisis there. In addition, the sanctions constitute a grave violation of the foremost principle of international humanitarian law: the restriction on collective punishment. The coalition believes that these sanctions will not prevent armed groups from launching rocket attacks on Israeli communities.

The cabinet’‘s claim that the sanctions will not affect the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is false. Limiting the electricity supply will drastically reduce the functionality of hospitals and health clinics. In addition, limited electricity will reduce the Strip’‘s water filtering system, and will cripple its sewage system and water supply. Thus, the Cabinet’‘s decision not to cut Gaza’‘s water supply is not a kind gesture because the sanctions would effectively diminish it.

The human rights organizations urge the Cabinet to renege on its decision to impose collective punishment on the Gaza Strip – a grave violation of international humanitarian law.

The coalition of human rights groups consists of: The Association for Civil Rights in Israel; Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights; B’‘Tselem – the Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories; Gisha: Legal Center for Freedom of Movement; Hamoked: The Center for the Defense of the Individual; Physicians for Human Rights; The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel; Rabbis for Human Rights; and Yesh Din – A Volunteer Human Rights Organization.

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Categories: Gaza Strip, International Humanitarian Law, Social and Economic Rights, The Occupied Territories, Use of Force

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