Nov 29

Israel has warned it might cut all support to the Gaza Strip, including vital water and power supplies, if the Palestinian Authority pursues its path towards reunification with militant group Hamas.

Israel threatens to cut water and power to Gaza (Telegraph, Nov. 27, 2011):

The threats were issued by Danny Ayalon, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, on Israeli Radio on Saturday in response to a recent meeting between Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Cairo.

Mr Ayalon claimed a deal with the extremist faction would turn the Palestinian Authority into “an authority of terrorism and this would block any hope of reaching any peace agreement with Israel”.

Israel currently provides around 60 per cent of Gaza’s electricity. The rest is either brought form Egypt or generated by Gaza’s own partially destroyed power station, run by the EU. Mekorot, Israel’s national water company, provides 5% of its water – a small but important contribution, according to Sari Bashi, who runs legal organisation GISHA supporting freedom of movement for Palestinians. Mr Bashi dismissed Mr Ayalon’s comments as “silly and irresponsible”.

“I can’t imagine Israel cutting off drinking water to civilians as a means of effecting the behaviour of militants. It would also be illegal,” she said.

“These policies of collective punishment – responding with anger as opposed to applying policy – have failed over and over again. I would expect the deputy foreign minister to think before he speaks.”

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