The Jerusalem Post reports:
Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz on Monday rejected for the time being the Defense Ministry’s intention of causing power shortages in the Gaza Strip as a punitive measure [my emphasis] for rocket attacks against Israeli communities, the Justice Ministry announced.
Mazuz gave the green light for various economic sanctions including cutting economic and commercial ties with the Gaza Strip. However, as far as the army and defense ministry’s intention of cutting power supplies to Gaza was concerned, Mazuz said more planning work had to be done before the decision could be carried out. This, “in order to look into the possibility of implementing the measure so that it would be in keeping with the government’s decision [of Sept. 19.] That decision restricted sanctions so that they would not cause humanitarian harm to the civilian population.”
According to an example provided by Channel 10 news, Mazuz instructed the army to determine how to warn Gaza hospitals of its intention to cut electricity in enough time so that the hospitals could turn on their own generators.
I wrote recently that Israel is not required to supply fuel and power to a hostile entity, which is at this very moment at war with her, firing rockets, attempting to breach her border, and engaging her soldiers in combat.
As has been pointed out elsewhere, rockets are being fired from Gaza directly at the power station in Ashkelon where the electricity used to make the rockets is generated!
Rather than simply stopping delivery of fuel and electricity, the policy seems to be to produce a calibrated amount of discomfort to force Hamas to change its behavior.
First of all, this won’t work. Hamas is indifferent to the discomfort of those that are not aligned with it, and will divert any available supplies to meet its own needs.
Second, it sets an unfortunate precedent. It seems as though Israel accepts the opinion of Ban Ki-moon, for example, that Israel is responsible for the welfare of Gazans.
Third, from a public relations standpoint it is idiotic. It both weakens Israel’s position and opens it to the charge of collective punishment — which of course is not limited to critics outside of Israel, but is now being taken up by the Attorney General!
Israel should stop shooting herself in the foot. Turn off the power and stop fuel deliveries. Let Hamas bring in fuel and power by way of the multitude of tunnels under the Egyptian border, through which have passed 112 tons of explosives since Israel withdrew from Gaza.