Erekat: “Israeli War Crimes Destroying Prospects for Peace

Press Releases
June 28, 2006


Israeli military attacks on the occupied Gaza Strip are targeting civil infrastructure, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis and demolishing hopes of ending the conflict, stated Dr. Saeb Erekat, Chief Palestinian Negotiator, this afternoon.” 

Referring to the recent breakthrough in internal Palestinian negotiations on the Palestinian Prisoner’s Agreement, Dr. Erekat asked, “Why is Israel choosing to commit such war crimes at a time when Palestinians are united in offering a resolution of the conflict on the basis of the two-state solution? It only serves to strengthen the impression that Israel is committed to destroying the prospect of a peace agreement emerging, no matter what the human cost.” 

The statement follows the launch of a wide-scale Israeli military assault on the occupied Gaza Strip that has included the destruction of the substation of the only power station in Gaza City, responsible for supplying approximately 50 per cent of the Gaza Strip’s electricity. Three bridges have also been demolished in the attacks.

Dr. Erekat poured scorn on Israeli spokespersons’ claims that Israel’s military invasion is intended to target “terrorist infrastructure.” “It is, in fact, the Palestinian people’s infrastructure that has been targeted by Israeli occupying forces,” he said. “This latest Israeli military escalation - an illegal act of collective punishment - reinforces the logic of violence and rejects the logic of dialogue.” 

Israel’s destruction of the Gaza substation is a violation of a signed agreement reached between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian National Authority in October 2003 to ensure that energy supplies were not affected by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The substation provides power to all of Gaza City and the center of the Gaza Strip. Repairing the substation would cost between $12 and $15 million, and would likely last several months, leaving thousands of Palestinians without electricity in the winter months. 

This morning’s military invasion follows a slew of Israeli military operations earlier this month. Of the 48 Palestinians Israel has killed this month, at least 27 were civilians, including nine children and a pregnant woman. According to the Palestine Red Crescent Society, a further 174 Palestinians have been wounded. 

While Israel removed its settlers and permanent military presence from the occupied Gaza Strip in September 2005, it continues to exercise effective control over Gaza’s air space, sea space and borders, thereby ensuring it retains the status of an Occupying Power in the territory.

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