Amidst talk of « peace-making » at Annapolis, the situation in Gaza grows worse by the day and any lingering hopes Palestinians may have had for a just peace are fading fast.
After declaring the Gaza Strip an « enemy entity » in September, the Israeli Cabinet last week approved the cutoff of fuel supplies and electricity to the Gaza Strip in response to ongoing rocket attacks. Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak gave the order to cut electricity for increasing periods and to reduce fuel shipments.
Gaza is largely dependent upon Israel for power, receiving almost all of its fuel and more than 60% of its electricity from Israel. Gaza’s power supply is already crippled due to Israel’s bombing of a power station in June; further cuts will be devastating and amount to collective punishment, which is illegal under international law.
The Defense Ministry’s orders have yet to be carried out thanks to a group of Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations (including Grassroots International’s partner organization – the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights) which has submitted a petition to the Israeli High Court requesting that Israel halt these actions. The Court is reviewing the petition and the decision. Previous decisions by lower Israeli courts in this case have ruled the actions illegal and barred the Defense Ministry from moving forward with the plan.
Life was already difficult for Gazans, who have suffered tremendously under strict Israeli closure. (See Amira Hass’s « A moment before the lights go out » in Haaretz for a compelling up to date look at how the siege denies Gazans their human rights to water, food and medical treatment.)
As bad as things already are, if Israel implements its plan to cut vital services to the Gaza Strip, Gazans will be unable to cook food, turn on a light or even water their gardens. We are asking you to join us in saying no to collective punishment and supporting our partners working to defend human rights and provide access to land, water, food and the other resources necessary for dignified, sustainable livelihoods.
One way to help is to support the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation’s campaign for an end to collective punishment and Israeli military aggression in Gaza, « Gaza: Stop the Siege, End the War! » Grassroots is proud to be a member of the Campaign to End the Occupation.
Meanwhile, Grassroots has sent an urgently needed shipment of medical goods to support our partners, the Palestine Medical Relief Society (PMRS). The shipment will provide more than $1.25 in medicine for PMRS’s clinics and hospitals throughout Gaza and the West Bank. (Their work was recently featured in an article by Ramsey Ben-Achour for the IPS news service.)