Collective Punishment and Intentional Harm to the Population of the Gaza Strip
Nine human rights organizations and one public company responded today (13.8.2020) to the instruction of the Minister of Defense to halt the passage of fuels into the Gaza Strip, after Israel had already minimized the activity of the Kerem Shalom passage of goods two days prior and minimized the fishing zone yesterday. According to the organizations, this instruction is another cynical act of ongoing collective punishment, meant to intentionally harm the two million residents of the Gaza Strip.
The intentional harm to the already difficult humanitarian state in the Strip, and to its already fragile economy controlled by Israel for years, is especially severe now against the background of a global crisis due to the spread of COVID-19.
The use of explosive balloons may risk concentrated groups of the population and is a violation of international law, yet it still does not justify harming the entire civilian population in retaliation for activities out of their control. Israel’s responses are disproportionate, oppose international and Israeli law, and are not tied to Israel's concrete security needs.
Halting the supply of essential goods, including fuels necessary for operating the only power plant in the Strip, are in effect forbidden by humanitarian international law. It is a violation of Israel’s promise to guarantee the wellbeing and safety of residents of the Gaza Strip and to allow its civilian population to lead functional lives.
The organizations demand that Israel immediately retracts these illegal punishments and the intentional harm to the human rights of residents of the Strip.
The signed organizations: Bimkom - Planners for Planning Rights | B’Tselem - The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories | Gisha - Legal Center for Freedom of Movement | ACRI | Hamoked - Center for the Defence of the Individual | Zazim - Community Action | Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights | Physicians for Human Rights - Israel | Ir Amim