The Israeli defence minister has apparenty approved sanctions against the civilian population of that ‘hostile entity’ Gaza whereby electricity supplies will be cut off every time a rocket is launched into Israel.
That this constitutes a form of collective punishment prohibited under international humanitarian law as usual concerns them not, which means that 1.5 million already beleagured people will again pay the price for acts which have nothing to do with the majority of them and which they may not necessarily support. Israel of course claims that the lands it nicked in 1967 are ‘disputed’ rather than ‘occupied’ because when they nicked them they weren’t under the legal sovereignty of any State and therefore the 4th Geneva Convention which protects civilians under occupation does not apply to the Palestinians. That the legal community disagrees entirely is neither here nor there. Israel also apparently doesn’t give a rat’s fart about the fact that its control of Gazan airspace, territorial waters and border crossings renders it an occupying power with an obligation to actively ensure the welfare of the Gazan population.
Legal semantics aside, and assuming that Israel’s priority is to ensure the welfare of its Jewish citizens, surely it is in its interests to not impose measures which will increase despair and anger in Gaza, and probably only fuel further violence against it? Or is this designed to spur on factional in-fighting in Gaza and bring about a situation just short of civil war which will justify that Israel re-occupies Gaza fully again? Is it a war of attrition against the Gazan population?
If there is no sensible military rationale for these actions could it be that the Israel government and military and their supporters are actually just law-flouting heartless bastards?
And yes, it is wrong for Palestinian groups to target Israeli civilians, and it probably doesn’t help their cause internationally, but what the bloody hell would you do if you were trapped in a giant prison with your kids, who if they haven’t been killed by Israeli gunships or Hamas-Fatah crossfire are terrified by sonic booms, and if they aren’t terrified by sonic booms, they’re hungry, and if they’re not hungry they’re dying of some illness which can’t be treated in hospital because it lacks supplies, and they can’t be treated outside Gaza because the Israelis have closed the border crossing and even if you could take them abroad you wouldn’t necessarily be able to get back in because Israel might decide to close the border again while you aren’t inside Gaza. But then you probably wouldn’t be able to afford to go abroad anyway because if you’re a public employee you haven’t been paid for months. Probably best not to attempt to leave Gaza anyway, at least not destined for an Arab country because it’s unlikely you’ll get a visa and even if you did and decided to go to say, Cairo, you would be the unwilling guest of its airport for 24 hours for no reason other than the fact that you are a Palestinian. To reiterate, I don’t condone the targeting of any civilians but this is very easy for me to say from my comfortable bed in Cairo. In that situation God knows what the insanity and endless humiliation would drive me to.
Note that Egypt supplies some of Gaza’s electricity. Does anyone know if – obligations under military aid agreements with superpowers aside – it would be physically possible to somehow increase electricity supply to Gaza at times when Israel imposes a blackout? Or is this just fantastical.