Mazuz puts power cut tactic on hold
Attorney general blocks controversial move to limit supply of electricity to Gaza in attempt to bring an end to rocket attacks against Israel, says defense establishment must present more solid case for such a move. Meanwhile however, proposals to sever economic, trade ties with Gaza approved
Attorney General Menachem Mazuz on Monday ordered the defense establishment to reevaluate the decision to partially restrict Israel's supply of electricity and fuel to Gaza in response to the incessant
rocket fire by terror groups emanating from that territory.
Mazuz's ruling thereby suspends the decision made by Defense Minister Ehud Barak last week to push ahead with the proposed tactic.
Meanwhile however, Mazuz authorized a series of economic sanctions against the Hamas government in Gaza, this following a special meeting on the subject held in his office with the participation of numerous State representatives, at the end of which the attorney general stressed that it was Israel's right to sever economic ties with a hostile regime.
"It has been determined that further administrative work must be done by the defense establishment regarding the option of cutting electricity back in a manner befitting the government's decision on the matter when it conditioned any such move with the risk of exacerbating humanitarian difficulties for the civilian population in Gaza," said the Justice Ministry in an official statement.
Defense officials stressed that the move was not punitive but rather part of Israel's gradual disengagement from the Gaza Strip.
Human rights groups have petitioned the High Court of Justice to issue an interim injunction to delay Barak's decision. The court demanded of the State to respond to the petitions within five days.
The move was also widely condemned by the international community. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement on Monday asserting that the move was in violation of international law.
Ban said he "believes strongly that punitive measures taken by Israel which harm the well-being of the
entire population of the Gaza Strip are unacceptable.
"The limitation of fuel and electricity supplies deepens the humanitarian distress of the 1.4 million residents of Gaza, as does the reduction of the supply of essential commodities and the tightening of restrictions on movement and access."