1.4 million Gazans still without electricity twelve hours a day
Israel must finance the rehabilitation of the power plant it bombed in the Gaza Strip. This is one of the conclusions of B’Tselem’s new report, Act of Vengeance, which describes and analyzes the harsh effects of the Israeli Air Force’s destruction of the power plant in June. B’Tselem states that the bombing was illegal, and calls on the government to finance upgrading the infrastructure for transferring electricity from Israel to the Gaza Strip; to reinstate legislation permitting individuals and entities harmed by the bombing to sue Israel for compensation; to open criminal investigations against the persons who planned and carried out the attack, with the intention of prosecuting them; and to prohibit the IDF from attacking civilians and civilian objects.
Some three months after the bombing, 1.4 million Gazans remain without a steady supply of electricity. The power stoppages significantly affect the level of health services they receive. The inability to refrigerate food has increased the risk of food poisoning. The water and sewage systems, which rely on a regular supply of electricity, have been severely impaired, with most city dwellers receiving water for two to three hours a day. B’Tselem warns that the sewage system in the northern Gaza Strip is liable to collapse and flood neighboring communities with raw sewage.
Video: Family without electricity
Video: Hospital without electricity
Summary of the report
The complete report (doc)
B’Tselem’s investigation leads to indictment
On 18 September 2006, the Judge Advocate General’s Office indicted two soldiers from the Haruv Battalion who maltreated Palestinians in the Nablus District in August of this year. The soldiers were charged with assault in aggravated circumstances and with conduct unbecoming. After B’Tselem requested that this incident and seven other cases of beating and abuse of Palestinian by soldiers be investigated, the Judge Advocate General’s Office ordered the Military Police to investigate the cases. The indictments followed.
For years, B’Tselem has reported on security forces’ violence against Palestinian civilians. Recently, there has been a significant rise in the number of such reports received by the organization. The decision to prosecute in this case is exceptional. B’Tselem hopes that the decision signals a change in policy; in the past, the military authorities paid little attention to incidents of this kind. The authorities generally do not give due importance to investigating and prosecuting cases of violence by security personnel against Palestinians. In failing to do so, they send a message to the forces in the field that the maltreatment of Palestinians is not a serious matter.
Israel’s policy separates tens of thousands of Palestinian families
For almost six years, Israel has prevented family unification between Palestinian residents of the Occupied Territories and their spouses from abroad, and has prohibited family members from visiting the West Bank or the Gaza Strip. In their recently issued report, B’Tselem and HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual point out that, during this period, Palestinians have submitted more than 120,000 requests for family unification, which await processing.
Israel’s policy has created a harsh reality for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians: spouses are unable to live under the same roof; children are forced to grow up in single-parent families though their parents want to live together; people do not leave the Occupied Territories to go abroad for medical treatment because Israel may not issue them a new visitor’s permit; women from abroad married to residents of the Occupied Territories face the constant threat of deportation. B’Tselem and HaMoked call on the government of Israel to begin immediately to process requests for family unification and visitor’s permits.
On 22 August 2006, Naot Hapisga Modi’in Ltd. filed a prospectus in advance of making a public offering of bonds and options on the stock exchange. B’Tselem and Bimkom compared the information in the prospectus with the information they had accumulated during their investigation. They found many errors in the prospectus relating to the Naot Hapisga project that the company is building in the settlement of Modi’in Illit. The errors create a false picture in an attempt to conceal some of the substantial problems that the company faces in building the project.
Following B’Tselem and Bimkom’s letter to the Securities Authority, the company postponed the offering and changed many details in the prospectus. According to a report B’Tselem and Bimkom published in December 2005, the separation barrier was set to promote the expansion of the bloc of settlements centering around Modi’in Illit, in part by taking control of privately-owned Palestinian farmland.