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News Brief


Israel’s defense minister approved cutting power and fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip.

Ehud Barak on Thursday approved a set of sanctions designed to counter Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza. Their implementation was expected to take several days.

Political sources said that Israel, which supplies about two-thirds of the electricity used by Gaza’s 1.5 million Palestinians, plans to suspend power supplies gradually.

“We are talking about a gradual disengagement from Gaza in matters to do with electricity, so that they know they have to provide for themselves,” Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna’i told Army Radio ahead of Barak’s decision. “Because this is an entity that is hostile to us, there is no reason for us to supply them with electricity beyond the minimum required to prevent a humanitarian crisis.”

There will be limitations as well on the amount of fuel imported to the territory.

Foreign powers have cautioned Israel against imposing “collective punishment” on Gaza. Israel argues that the only alternative for countering the rocket salvos would be to mount a major military invasion, which would have a far greater cost in terms of casualties.

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