Statement from Gisha (www.gisha.org)
On Wednesday, May 21, 2008, Israel’s Supreme Court held a hearing in a petition submitted by nine Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups, represented by Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, claiming that since April 9, 2008, the State of Israel has violated its commitment to supply even minimal, insufficient quantities of fuel to the Gaza Strip. The groups also claimed that the fuel restrictions are crippling the functioning of hospitals, water wells, sewage treatment plants, and public transportation – and thus endangering the health and well-being of Gaza’s 1.5 million residents. Israel controls Gaza’s borders and does not permit Gaza residents to receive fuel except via the Israeli-controlled Nahal Oz Crossing.
The position of the rights groups is that all deliberate restrictions on fuel supply to Gaza are illegal, because they violate Israel’s obligations to Gaza residents under international humanitarian law, including the obligation to refrain from collective punishment.
According to data assembled by Gisha for the period between April 9, 2008, the day that an attack on the Nahal Oz fuel depot killed two Israeli civilians, and May 17, 2008, fuel supplies to Gaza have fallen far even below the court-ordered quantities and certainly far below the quantities that Gaza residents need. I encourage you to read the addendum to our news release issued on the subject, which contains graphs showing the extent of the fuel cuts and a timeline showing relevant events. Please click here to download document.
The court has not yet issued a ruling in the case.
The rights groups who petitioned the court are: Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Al-Dameer Association for Human Rights, B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual, Mezan Center for Human Rights, The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, and The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel.