On September 19, 2007, the Security Cabinet of the Israeli government decided to “impose additional sanctions on the Hamas regime in order to restrict the passage of goods into the Gaza Strip, reduce the supply of electricity and fuel and limit the movement of people to and from the Gaza Strip.” On September 20, the organizations wrote to the State Attorney’s office requesting to be informed whether the decision has been legally examined. The answer was that the sanctions would be imposed only after the completion of a legal examination. On October 10, 2007, the petitioning organizations requested the results of said legal examination. The request was not answered. A further request forwarded on 25 October 2007 also remained unanswered, this despite the demand to refrain from any restrictions regarding electricity and fuel supply and to hand over the results of any legal examination undertaken.
The government’s decision, if carried out, constitutes collective punishment. It is a choice to purposely cause severe harm to the civilian residents of the Gaza Strip, despite making no claim that they have committed any sort of offense. Any attempt to put pressure on armed militias in this way is illegal. The population of the Gaza Strip has been suffering from severe sanctions imposed by Israel for several years now. These sanctions impede its ability to lead a normal, healthy life. For years Israel has been limiting the passage of essential goods into and out of the Gaza Strip and delaying transferring tax money which is designated for funding various public services.
Over the years, the Israeli government has made the dubious claim that the sanctions imposed on the Gaza Strip were aimed at neutralizing concrete threats. Now, the Respondents declare, for the first time, that they are not attempting to neutralize a real and specific security threat but punishing the million and a half residents of the Gaza Strip by purposely reducing fuel and electricity supplies. It was further published that the state claims that the residents of the Gaza Strip will be harmed “only slightly” since the reduction of fuel and electricity supply will take place “only” intermittently. In the petition, the organizations stress that international law does not permit to punish “only slightly”. Collective punishment is absolutely prohibited.