10/30/2007, 00.00
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Attorney General holds up electricity cut back in Gaza

Decision to cut power supplies was taken in response to rockets launched against Israel. Justice official wants to evaluate its humanitarian impact. United Nations and the European Union slam the decision as “collective punishment.”

Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz held up a government’s plan to cut back on electricity to the Gaza Strip, demanding more work be done to prevent humanitarian harm. The decision came after ten human rights groups petitioned Israel’s Supreme Court to stop the cutbacks, charging they are collective punishment. Israel’s Defence Ministry had given the go-ahead for the sanctions in response to Qassam rockets launched against Israel.

Israel’s highest court rejected the demand that the Gaza power cut be cancelled altogether, but told the government to respond to its request by today.

For his part Mazuz determined that “in the case of electricity cut-off, more staff work needs to be done [. . .] to comply with the government decision in the matter, which qualified these measures over humanitarian harm to the civilian population.”

The decision to reduce power supplies follows the Israeli government’s declaration that Gaza was a “hostile entity”.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the steps taken by Israel against the Gaza Strip, including cutting oil supplies and blocking commercial ties, are unacceptable.

The European Union called the measures “collective punishment” against 1.5 million Palestinians.

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