Will it be lights out for Hamas?

What if England had been supplying electricity to Germany in 1941?

Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s approval earlier Thursday of an IDF plan to impose sanctions on the Gaza Strip in wake of the escalation in Kassam rocket attacks was the first step, defense officials told The Jerusalem Post, towards a “complete disengagement” including the gradual reduction in Palestinian dependency on Israel for gas and electricity…

According to the plan, one of the power lines connecting Israel and Gaza will be shut down at first for 15 minutes after a rocket attack, gradually increasing the cutoff length if the barrages continue, up to a two-hour limit. In addition, Israel will begin reducing the amount of gasoline it allows into the Gaza Strip…

Defense officials stressed that the fairly-limited sanctions were not capable of creating a humanitarian crisis in Gaza and were being imposed with the eventual goal – of the defense establishment – to completely cut off Palestinian dependency on Israel. The cuts to electricity will not affect Gaza-based hospitals, defense officials said…

Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said Israel had no choice but to take punitive measures. “Should we tell them to continue firing rockets at the same power station that provides them with electricity and continue to bomb the water system that provides them with water?” he asked.


Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat appealed for international intervention and called the Israeli decision to cut off electricity to Gaza after each Kassam rocket “particularly provocative given that Palestinians and Israelis are meeting to negotiate an agreement on the core issues for ending the conflict between them.”

Palestinians and human rights groups denounced the measure as collective punishment. One of the groups, Gisha, issued a statement warning, “Playing with electricity is playing with fire,” adding, “Even a brief interruption in electricity threatens the safety and well-being of Gaza residents.” — Jerusalem Post

1) Firing rockets at random into civilian territory in order to kill people is very ‘provocative’ and in fact is a war crime.

2) By Gisha’s reasoning, almost any wartime action that affects a civilian population is ‘collective punishment’. Nevertheless, Israel’s tying the interruptions of service to rocket attacks is unfortunate, because it lends itself to the charge that the interruptions are retaliatory in nature. Israel should simply cut the electricity because it is not required to supply a hostile enemy. Let Hamas solve the problem by ceasing its belligerency.

This should have happened a long time ago, perhaps on the day this March when a Hamas sniper in Gaza shot an Israeli electrical worker atop a pole on the Israeli side of the border (see “Black Out Gaza!”).

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