Israel cut supplies of fuel to the Gaza Strip in response to cross-border Palestinian rocket fire.
Israel’s Defense Ministry announced late Sunday that it was reducing fuel supplies to Gaza by between five and 11 percent as part of sanctions aimed at pressuring Hamas to stop rocket salvos from the territory.
Under a government plan, Israel is also expected to reduce electricity supplies to Gaza, but that measure has yet to be instituted.
Gaza’s 1.5 million Palestinians are entirely dependent on Israel for fuel imports, some of which are paid for by the European Union. Israeli security sources said the cutbacks would likely affect only gas for private cars while fuel would keep flowing to the one power plant in Gaza.
Ten human-rights groups petitioned Israel’s High Court of Justice to overturn the sanctions, arguing that they constitute collective punishment. Israel says it seeks a non-violent means of countering Palestinian rocket attacks, and that the only alternative would be a military sweep of Gaza that would cause heavy casualties.