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"Immoral and illegal"

It is against the Geneva Convention to impose collective punishment on a people. That hasn't stopped the Israelis over the last 40 years during its occupation of Gaza and the West Bank breaching the Geneva Convention in a variety of ways. Faced with rockets being fired into Israel from Gaza, the Israelis have responded with collective punishment by cutting off the water and electricity supply into the already blighted Gaza area.

Haaretz is spot on in its editorial when it says that what the Israelis are doing is "immoral and illegal":

"Communities in the western Negev are now enduring their seventh year of rocket attacks. Israel's inability to halt these attacks stems from fear that the cost of a military operation in the Gaza Strip, which the Israel Defense Forces left two years ago, would be higher than the benefits: Many soldiers would be hurt or killed; there would also be Palestinian casualties; international understanding of Israel's need to defend itself would evaporate; and in the end, the operation would turn out to have produced only a lull before the next battle between Israel and the Palestinian organizations - which use various means against it, and not only rockets.

The distress of Israel's government, which is responsible for defending its citizens, periodically gives rise - and with greater force than usual this week - to desperate ideas. One such idea, which is being advocated by Minister Haim Ramon and, more guardedly, by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, is hitting Gaza's water and electricity networks. Stopping the flow of water and electricity is a painful and punishing step, but ostensibly not a fatal one. Its goal is to cause the Palestinian public to pressure Hamas and Islamic Jihad to stop the fire.

This idea is complete nonsense. Factually speaking, cutting off water and electricity can kill. Moreover, there is no proof that making the Palestinian public suffer would make Hamas take pity on it and embark on a cease-fire. On the contrary: Hamas consistently sabotages the flow of essential goods through Gaza's border terminals. What is being presented as a way to avoid war is counterproductive, immoral and illegal."

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