NGOs warn Gaza faces 'total collapse' over electricity

Radical groups petition Attorney General to force government to restore electricity to Gaza.

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Avichai Mandelblit
Avichai Mandelblit
Tomer Neuberg/Flash 90

Israeli and international NGOS joined the UN on Wednesday in warning of a "total collapse" in Gaza if Israel goes ahead with plans to further cut power supplies to the enclave.

A joint statement of 16 groups, among them the radical Israeli groups B'Tselem, Peace Now and
Rabbis for Human Rights along with Amnesty International, said they has asked Israel's attorney general to intervene.

Gazans currently receive only three to four hours of mains electricity a day, delivered from the territory's own power station and others in Israel and Egypt.

Senior Israeli ministers decided on Sunday to reduce the amount of electricity supplied to Gaza by between 45 and 60 minutes a day after Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmud Abbas cut funding for it by his Judea and Samaria-based PA.

The move was widely seen as an attempt by the Palestinian leader to step up pressure on his rivals in the Islamist terrorist movement Hamas which runs the Gaza Strip.

"A group of civil society organizations... sent an urgent letter today to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit demanding that he advise the members of the security cabinet to immediately rescind (its) decision to reduce the supply of electricity sold and provided by Israel to the Gaza Strip," the NGOs said in their statement.

Amnesty warned in a separate statement of a "looming humanitarian
catastrophe".

It said additional reductions in power "will have a disastrous impact on Gaza's battered infrastructure and cause a public health disaster."

"The move will also endanger thousands of lives including those of hospital patients with chronic conditions or in intensive care, including babies on life support."

The UN 'humanitarian coordinator for the occupied territories,' Robert Piper, warned that fresh cuts would be disastrous.

"A further increase in the length of blackouts is likely to lead to a total collapse of basic services, including critical functions in the health, water and sanitation sectors," Piper said in a statement.

"The people in Gaza should not be held hostage to this longstanding internal Palestinian dispute."