New Gisha report released – Red Lines Crossed: Destruction of Gaza’s Infrastructure
This new report from the Israeli organisation Gisha, the legal centre for freedom of movement, describes how Israel deliberately brought Gaza’s humanitarian infrastructure to the brink of collapse in advance of Operation Cast Lead via its policy of closure and limitations on the entrance of inputs for the water, sewage and electricity systems.
Gisha’s news release, 12 August 2009, states:
During the offensive, bombing of infrastructure and shortages in critical resources caused these vital systems to collapse just when they were needed most – disconnecting water supply for half a million people, cutting central power supply for hospitals and di! sconnecting a million people from the electricity needed to pump water, remove sewage and heat homes. Since then, and despite international concern and scrutiny, rehabilitation efforts remain hampered by Israel’s continued refusal to allow passage of items needed for repairs and maintenance and by continued restrictions on supply of industrial diesel funded by the EU for Gaza’s power plant. The report details the repercussions on the lives of residents of the Strip, analyzes Israel’s legal responsibility, and addresses the approval granted to the State’s actions by the Israeli High Court of Justice.
In this context, we are particularly troubled by the State’s recent claim that there is no need for international investigations into Israel’s activities in Gaza because, inter alia, the Israeli High Court of Justice actively reviews these activities and would intervene where necessary. Since late 2007, Gisha has filed three petitions in Israel’s High Court of Justice challenging the deliberate weakening of Gaza’s critical humanitarian infrastructure by restricting supplies to a “humanitarian minimum,” calculated by military officials based on the number and type of humanitarian structures operating in Gaza in 2005. While the legal source of that “minimum” has never been revealed, the threshold of Israel’s obligations to provide for the needs of Palestinian civilians in Gaza has been repeatedly lowered, substan! tially impacting every aspect of their daily lives and leading to a dangerous and worrisome erosion of their rights.
At each stage, the High Court of Justice approved the supply cuts, under circumstances that raise questions about the ability or willingness of the Court to conduct meaningful judicial review of the activities of the military in the Occupied Territory in general, and in the Gaza Strip in particular.
Gisha calls on Israel to adhere to its obligations under Israeli and international law to provide for the needs of Gaza residents and to allow passage of all humanitarian aid, including fuel and spare parts for critical infrastructure, without tying that aid to political goals. We call on the international community to couple its generous provision of aid with a firm call to Israel to allow that aid to reach those who need it in Gaza.
We encourage you to read the report, available on our website, by clicking here.
Gisha also refers readers to its 17 December 2008 news release last year Gisha to Israeli Ministers: Stop Using Civilians in Gaza as a Weapon to Enforce the Ceasefire