Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Gideon Levy: The lights have been turned off

Levy in Ha'aretz:
A panel of justices headed by Court President Dorit Beinisch ruled that Israel is authorized to limit the supply of electricity, gasoline and diesel to the Gaza Strip, "since even these diminished quantities sufficiently meet humanitarian needs."

It is difficult to tell what "humanitarian needs" are according to Beinisch, but in the Gaza Strip a million and a half people are crying out for fuel, water and electricity. It is fair to ask the court president: Has she ever been exposed to the scenes of wretchedness in the Gaza Strip? Did she ever see the miserable people there carrying fuel jerry cans from Egypt? Has she considered the cold, which cannot be countered without electricity or fuel? Has she given any serious thought to what happens to children, the infirm and the elderly without these necessities? They are all innocents.

But the severity of the Supreme Court's decision is not only on the human level: The Supreme Court is authorizing collective punishment, which is specifically forbidden under international law (Article 33 of the Geneva Convention). Henceforth, Israel will no longer be able to complain about attacks against innocents in Israel: If all the residents of the Gaza Strip deserve to be punished because of the Qassam rockets, then maybe all Israelis deserve to be punished because of the occupation?
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