The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) strongly denounces the decision of the Israeli Occupying Authorities to reduce the amount of electricity provided to the Gaza Strip. PHROC further warns the international community of the dangerous repercussions of this decision, which could exacerbate the humanitarian crisis which Gaza has been under due to Israel’s 10-year long closure.
Israel’s security cabinet, which convened on 11/6/2017, has reportedly approved the reduction of the electricity provided to the Gaza Strip by 35%.
The media has reported that the decision was made after the Palestinian Authority (PA) took the decision to cut its funding for electricity in the Gaza Strip. Accordingly, Israeli Occupying Authorities reportedly claim that cuts are due to the PA’s request.
Israel, as the occupying power, must fulfill its obligations towards the occupied civilian population, as stipulated under international humanitarian law. Instead, Israel has implement a ten-year long closure which continues to violate the human rights of Palestinians, including their right to life. The constant power outages, which last most of the day, have serious consequences on people’s lives, and obstruct their ability to access basic services. Health care services, including dialysis, surgery, intensive care, and blood banks, amongst other services, are continually threatened by power cuts. Individuals with special needs, as well as children and the elderly, also have issues with accessing their homes and services when in multi-story buildings. On a broader level, the Gazan economy is further restricted by the electricity cuts and results in losses of productivity. Sewage treatment plants and water extraction and distribution facilities resort to pumping untreated waste water into the sea due to the lack of power, impacting the health of Gazans and the environment.
According to a response received by the GISHA organization from the Israeli Attorney General on the 19th of June, the process of power reduction will begin gradually at 10 am (the same day), starting with a 5% reduction and increasing until it reaches the proportion referred to above. The response of the Attorney-General came as a result of a joint letter sent by Israeli human rights organizations demanding a halt to the implementation of the reduction order.
In light of Israel’s manmade humanitarian crisis in Gaza, due to the closure and Israeli assaults on the area, and the catastrophic consequences of the increased power cuts on the Gaza Strip, and according to the legal status of the Gaza Strip, which remains under Israel’s prolonged occupation, PHROC calls upon the international community to immediately and effectively act to prevent the reduction in electricity provided to Gaza from Israel, the occupying power, and to ensure the restoration of the power plant in Gaza.
PHROC renews its call to the international community to respect and ensure respect for international law, including that Israel fulfills its duties as occupying power towards the protected Palestinian population.
PHROC also calls upon the Palestinian Authority to clarify its position regarding the reduction of electricity and to take the necessary measures to alleviate the suffering of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.