Killing Gaza piece by piece

Gisha, the Israeli legal centre for Palestinian freedom of movement, released a new report this week:

Israel Weakening Gaza Infrastructure ahead of Next War

* Report released today says Gaza infrastructure collapse during war could have been prevented.
* Israel preventing the EU from providing sufficient quantities of fuel to the Gaza power plant
* The Gaza electric system is missing hundreds of items, with more than 30,000 stockpiled items waiting months for Israeli approval.
* More than 40% of spare parts needed for water system awaiting permits, some for two years.
* Tens of millions of liters of raw sewage dumped into sea and the groundwater, endangering Israel as well.
* At every opportunity, Israel’s Supreme Court approved policy of supply prevention.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 – According to a new report by Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, released today, Israel continues to harm civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip and to prevent rehabilitation of the heavy damage caused during its military offensive. The Gaza Electricity Distribution Company informed 1.5 million people in Gaza that, beginning this week, it will institute power outages of up to 10 hours a day, five days a week, because Israel refuses to allow transfer of enough industrial diesel to meet the needs of the population. Each week, the European Union, which is funding the fuel, orders increased amounts of industrial diesel for the power plant, but Israel limits the amount to 2.2 million liters, which it has defined – despite expert opinions to the contrary – as the “humanitarian minimum”. The resulting shortage seriously disrupts activities that are usually taken for granted: pumping running water, treating sewage, refrigerating medications and food, using washing machines, cooking and other basic needs.

Israel continues to block supply delivery, even though Gaza’s electricity system urgently needs hundreds of items that are either completely missing from its inventory or available in limited amounts. More than 30,000 items have been held up for months in Israel and the West Bank, waiting for an Israeli permit. Meanwhile, 10% of Gaza residents have been completely disconnected from electricity for more than six months, and tens of millions of liters of raw sewage are being dumped into the sea every day or are endangering the groundwater, including water used by Israel.

The new report, “Red Lines Crossed: Destruction of Gaza’s Infrastructure”, describes how in advance of its military offensive, Israel deliberately brought Gaza’s infrastructure to the brink of collapse; during the offensive, Israel bombed the infrastructure until it collapsed; and since then, Israel has prevented rehabilitation by continuing its policy of blocking supply delivery. The report also provides new information on the conduct of the Supreme Court, raising questions about the quality of the judicial review it exercises and casting doubts on the State’s allegations that the Supreme Court is willing to intervene in Israel’s activities concerning Gaza.

The report was sent to policy-makers with the demand that Israel allow the free entrance of industrial diesel, raw materials and spare parts into the Gaza Strip, to meet the needs of Gaza residents and their humanitarian infrastructure.

Nedal Toman, engineer, project manager at the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company: “The industrial diesel is a kind of humanitarian service for the public. Hamas can’t use it for missiles or even for transportation. It can only be used for the electricity sector and the power station.”

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