JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel-based human rights groups petitioned Israel’s Supreme Court to demand that Israel stop the collapse of Gaza’s sewage and water system.
The petition, filed Wednesday and written by attorneys from the Gisha-Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, says the collapse is being caused by the military operation and by a 14-month policy of systematically blocking fuel supplies necessary to generate electricity. It also claims that Israel’s direct control over some Gaza territory and the crossings into Gaza amplifies its duty to ensure the needs and welfare of the civilian population.
The groups demand that Israel’s defense minister ensure full supply and delivery of all forms of fuel, especially for the water system and power plant, and ensure repair of the electricity system, including by allowing spare parts into Gaza.
The petition warns that additional delay "risks unnecessary and preventable destruction and even death for innocent civilians."
According to the organizations, some 1 million Gaza residents, as well as hospitals, water supply facilities and sewerage pumps, have been without electricity since Saturday, and that some 800,000 people are completely cut off from water supply. In Gaza City and the northern area there is no water supply at all, the groups claim.
"Israel’s ‘humanitarian corridors’ will not save Gaza’s crumbling water and sewage system," said Gisha director Sari Bashi. "This crisis is a direct result of a deliberate policy, for the past 14 months, to block fuel supply. Israel must immediately restore full fuel supply, ensure necessary repairs and delivery, and take all measures to provide electricity to Gaza’s humanitarian institutions."