Palestinian, Israeli rights groups call for end to Gaza fuel cut


Gaza : Ten Palestinian and Israeli human rights groups have called on the Israeli government not to cut power and fuel supplies to Gaza, the Palestinian Al-Mizan Centre for Human Rights said.

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The Palestinian and Israeli human rights groups lodged their appeal to Israel’s Supreme Court on Sunday.

The Palestinian centre said Monday in a release, a copy of which was obtained by KUNA, that they have urged Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to issue an immediate decision allowing the resumption of power and gas flow to the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli move will jeopardise Palestinian innocent civilians, and impede the operation of hospitals, clinics and other vital facilities, they said.

Earlier on Sunday, Israel reduced fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip after threatening to impose sanctions in response to rocket attacks from the impoverished Hamas-ruled territory, Palestinian sources said.

Israel allowed the entry into Gaza of only 130,000 litres of diesel, 44,000 litres of benzine and 150 tons of butane gas, even though the Strip needs a daily quantity of 600,000 to 800,000 litres of diesel, 140,000 litres of benzine and 280 tons of butane gas, the Palestinian sources, on anonymity, said.

Gaza’s current fuel stock will be enough for only seven days, they added.

The sources made it certain that the fuel provider had informed the Palestinian side that Israel asked it to reduce fuel supply to the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli move comes at a time when the Strip is already locked in a serious shortage of food, medicine, power and fuel supplies due to an Israeli economic embargo.

The Israeli power cut would bring more woes to the already suffering Gazans, and the economic situation would worsen, the Palestinian human rights group warned.

About 120 megawatts out of the 200 megawatts of electricity used annually in Gaza are bought from and supplied by Israel directly. A further 17 megawatts are supplied by Egypt, while 65 megawatts is produced by a power station in Gaza, which was earlier devastated by Israel.

Israel imposed an economic embargo on Gaza after the Islamist militant group Hamas seized control from the rival Fatah group in June. It is also limiting the movement of people in and out of the territory.