Consider this a Nakba special. Here, an individual (to be initialed AE) presents his reasoning for why Israel should cut power supplies to the Gaza Strip this coming summer to make up for any of Israel’s power deficiencies. His text will be in bold. My responses will be in italics.
Israel isn’t directly at fault for the lack of power in Gaza. True, Israel did bomb the power plant in 2006 but its been 6 years and, while Israel (and Egypt) attempted to stop building materials from getting into Gaza they were obviously unsuccessful (there was plenty of smuggling as evidenced by the huge amount of rockets fired from Gaza (just from the beginning of 2007 until mid-June of 2008 there were 4,117 rockets fired from Gaza)
Right off the bat, a contradiction. This is going to be good. First, AE contends that Israel is not to be held responsible. But then he immediately cites the 2006 bombings that destroyed much of the main power system in the Gaza Strip. And let us not forget the carnage of 2008-2009 that intentionally damaged Gaza’s power grid. Thinking he can get away with seeming so intellectual, AE also throws in some stats: 4,117 rockets fired from Gaza from 2007 to 2008. What he forgets to mention is Israel fired 14,617 heavy artillery shells into Gaza in just 18 months, from September 2005 to May 2007, according to Human Rights Watch.
Presumably, the Gazans could have used the building material for a power plant but, once again, they prioritized murdering Israeli civilians over caring for their own citizens.
I take it AE doesn’t consider it murder when a uniformed military force lays siege to a surrounding strip of territory for twenty-two straight days.
Israel should not be obligated to give free electricity to those who chose to use the building materials that could have been used to create that electricity in order to attempt to kill as many of the civilians who are providing the electricity as they can.
First, Israel does not “give free electricity”. It sells it. By this point, one would assume this is common knowledge. And second, maybe this is just a grammatical concern of mine but AE should learn how to construct complex sentences with more than one object. In this case, civilians are not the ones providing electricity.
The only reason that Gaza lost its power supply in the first place is that they kept firing rockets into Israel with the express intent of killing civilians. From the disengagement until the time that the power station was bombed 757 rockets were successfully fired into Israel.
Again, more statistics which hold little weight in the grand scheme of things (which, believe it or not, includes the oft-ignored number of projectiles launched by a seemingly non-hostile Israeli military force). While AE finds it simple enough to blame Gaza’s lost power supply to rocket fire, I’ll go out on a limb here and say it has more to do with: the destruction of entire power stations, a blockade against oil, repeated attacks against the Gaza Strip’s power grid, and targeted attacks on power lines.
In addition, they kidnapped Gilad Shalit held him hostage. In an attempt to quell the incessent rocket fire targeting Israeli civilians (as well as to rescue Gilad Shalit) Israel attacked Gaza.
If this were even minutely true, the invasion would have continued until Shalit was found. Israel did not attack Gaza in self-defense. Even if for the sake of AE’s argument it did, there is nothing defensive about besieging a territory for years, then pummeling it with white phosphorus and other illegal weapons, and then bombing civilian quarters, hospitals, and schools. Relatively speaking, if AE were to pinch the arm of Person B, Person B does not have the moral or the legal leverage to sever AE’s head and limbs. That is what we call a cruel and unnecessary use of force, synonymous to the findings of every investigation of Israel’s latest invasion of Gaza (except, of course, Israel’s own self-evaluation, but even it found instances of abuse.)
The power plant itself was supplying energy used by the terrorists in order to continue their murderous spree of firing rockets at civilians.
So, if I’m understanding AE correctly, terrorists went to power plants, collected electricity (presumably in sandwich bags), and then distributed it amongst themselves in the form of vitamin pills or nutrient bars. Full of energy, the terrorists molded all the remaining electricity into rockets that were continuously fired at Israelis.
Israel gave Gaza electricity for free for years and they still haven’t created infrastructure.
Wrong again. And the White Man’s Burden or whatever move AE is trying to make here isn’t going to win anyone over. It’s much more difficult than he thinks to develop an infrastructure when the necessary resources are left to rot on the other side of military checkpoints.
As long as Gaza does not need the electricity it does not have a right to that electricity.
That is absolutely not how rights work. This borders on Lamarck’s “use it or lose it” theory, most of which is currently being laughed at in credible science textbooks worldwide.
While it is true that the Supreme Court did rule that Israel has an obligation to provide for the basic humanitarian needs for the people of Gaza it also determined that Israel is not obligated to give away any more than is necessary for basic humanitarian needs.
It’s really simple, actually. If Israel didn’t occupy the Palestinian territories, it would have all of the electricity it would need. However, given the fact that the Palestinian territories are still occupied and under Israel’s de facto and de jure military jurisdiction, the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people fall under the responsibility of the occupier, i.e. Israel.
The question then becomes whether the elimination of 35% of the electricity used in Gaza will result in an amount of power that is insufficient for basic humanitarian need. It appears to me that at least some of it is still necessary (as evidenced by the current dramatic lack of power in Gaza) but it would make sense that the continued supply of free power be given only with assurances that Gaza will actively work towards energy independence.
What is “energy independence” when Israel controls the flow of gas into Gaza through three borders and micromanages shipments and imports from Egypt?
It is unconscionable that Hamas can break any laws and agreements it wants to and actively try to kill Israeli civilians while demanding that the same civilians who they are attacking continue to supply them with power that will be used to attack them further.
It is unbelievable that AE cites the law because that is precisely what Israel makes a habit of violating. For example, administrative detention is illegal. It is illegal to use white phosphorus on civilian populations. It is illegal for an occupier to annex occupied territory. It is illegal to hold prisoners without charge and without giving them due process. It is illegal to forbid the right to marry one particular race. But alas, national law supersedes international and human rights law it seems.
Hamas is using their entire civilian population as a bargaining chip for free electricity. They must not be allowed to succeed.
Hamas does not own an “entire civilian population” in the same way that Netanyahu’s administration doesn’t own every Israeli civilian. Sometimes, words go a long way in making someone sound intelligent.
Also, this kind of threat is not so unique and to criticize Israel for its environmental minister beating his chest is not so necessary. The “settlers” pay for their electricity so there is no equivalency there.
Finally, AE brought up the settlers. Interesting enough, he put the word in quotation marks as if to openly doubt the accuracy of the term. But even settlers call themselves settlers, so there’s that. And yes, settler activity, which involves annexation and colonization, is illegal under international law, specifically the Forth Geneva Convention which explicitly rejects the transfer of an occupier’s population into occupied territory. But AE’s logic one again opens up another avenue of hypothetical consideration. If Palestinians moved or “settled”, as he’d say, near Tel Aviv, for example, and ended up paying for the electricity they used, are they no longer held accountable? AE’s entire reasoning suggests that this would be intolerable. So what’s with the double standard? AE should at least try to hide it better next time.