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      Atty. Gen. Mazuz Orders Power Cuts in Gaza Suspended

      The government requires the Att'y Gen's approval for power cuts to the Hamas-controlled Gaza region. Enemy rocket attacks continue.
      By Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
      First Publish: 10/30/2007, 8:38 AM

      While not rejecting outright the option of power cuts to the Hamas-controlled Gaza region in response to continued enemy rocket attacks from the PA, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz said Monday night that the measure should be suspended. The government
      IDF officials argue that power and fuel cuts to Gaza would pressure Hamas to end attacks against Israeli targets in the Negev.
      requires Mazuz's approval in order to carry out the sanctions.

      According to a decision by the government in September declaring Gaza a "hostile entity," ministers recently voted to carry out sanctions against the Hamas-controlled region, including power and petroleum cuts. However, the cabinet also required that all such actions be brought before the Attorney General for review. Atty. Gen. Mazuz says the Defense Ministry must examine how to implement the measures so that they "would not cause humanitarian harm to the civilian population."

      IDF officials argue that power and fuel cuts to Gaza would pressure Hamas to end attacks against Israeli targets in the Negev, while not affecting hospitals, the water supply or sewage systems. If implemented correctly, the army believes, such sanctions will make a large-scale ground operation in the area unnecessary. Furthermore, all of the proposed measures have already been given legal backing by the Military Advocate General, Brig.-Gen. Avichai Mendelblit.

      Although he rejected the plan to cut Gaza's supply of electricity, Mazuz approved other measures proposed by the government, such as commercial and economic sanctions against the PA in Gaza.

      The Monday night meeting with Mazuz was attended by officials from the Ministries of Defense, Foreign Affairs and Justice, State Prosecutor Eran Shendar, as well as legal counsel from the Prime Minister's Office, the IDF and the National Security Council.

      Reactions
      Attorney Yossi Fuchs of the Land of Israel Legal Forum said Monday that Attorney General Mazuz's decision not to allow temporary cuts in the supply of Israeli electricity to Gaza was a moral failure.

      "The Attorney General's decision shows concern for the residents of Gaza," Fuchs said, "but actually, he is ignoring the suffering of the children of Sderot."

      The Rabbinical Council of Judea, Samaria and Gaza released a statement on Tuesday condemning Atty. Gen. Mazuz's decision, saying that "it may lead to the deaths of soldiers and civilians." The rabbis laid the blame for recent IDF casualties in Gaza on orders intended to protect "so-called innocents among the terror-supporting population."

      The Rabbinical Council went on to explain that Jewish law allows for siege measures that would harm the population of the enemy entity in Gaza, "because, according to the
      Jewish law allows for siege measures that would harm the population of the enemy entity in Gaza.
      definition used in Jewish law, the daily Kassam rocket barrages on the precious residents of the south constitute war in every respect."

      The statement, signed by Rabbis Dov Lior and Daniel Shiloh, concludes with words of encouragement for the implementation of the government's "correct decision."

      Meanwhile, seemingly unimpressed with the Israeli internal debate, Arab terrorists in Gaza continued rocket attacks on the western Negev Tuesday morning. Two Kassam rockets slammed into Israeli targets, causing damage to a building on an area kibbutz. No injuries were reported.

      The Israeli Arab group Adalah filed a plea with the High Court of Justice on Sunday against the proposed sanctions against the PA in Gaza. Adalah is to argue that the power cuts and other measures constitute "collective punishment" and would cause conditions throughout Gaza to seriously deteriorate.