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2008 | Al-Bassiouni vs Prime Minister HCJ 9132-07

Israel is the main supplier of electricity and fuel to the Gaza strip. This decision in the case of Al-Bassiouni vs the Prime Minister answers a Palestinian petition directed against the Israeli government’s decision to reduce or limit the supply of electricity and of the industrial diesel fuel necessary for Gaza’s only domestic power plant.

The Petitioners claimed that energy shortages were now such that the functioning of vital services such as hospitals and the pumping of clean water were seriously compromised. They were alleging breach of Israel's obligations under International Humanitarian Law.

The State argued that the recent closure and other restrictions had been in the context of war (‘the ongoing campaign of terrorism directed against the citizens of Israel’). The State asserted that it was fully aware of its obligations under the international laws of war and that it scrupulously observed these standards. At the same time it was obliged to restrict the supply of electricity to a hostile entity, which used some of that energy to attack Israel. The restrictions were a measure of self-defense.

The question confronting the High Court of Justice was whether the restrictions upon the supply of fuel and electricity to the Gaza Strip harmed the essential humanitarian needs of its residents. The court concluded that: ‘the Gaza Strip is controlled by a murderous terrorist organization, which acts relentlessly to inflict harm on the State of Israel, …violating every possible rule of international law. Despite this …the State of Israel is committed to fighting the terrorist organizations within the framework of the law and in accordance with the provisions of international law, and to refrain from intentional harm to the civilian population in the Gaza Strip.

 Via this link you can read a commentary placing this case in the context of previous and subsequent restrictions of power to Gaza by the government of Israel.