On Thursday morning, members of the workers’ committee of the Israel Electric Company (IEC) announced that as a gesture of solidarity and support for those suffering under incessant barrages of missiles from Gaza, they will not be repairing power lines leading into Gaza that have been damaged due to Hamas’ rocket fire.
In addition, the workers stated that they will not resume work on damaged lines until Hamas returns the three Jews being held by their forces – the bodies of slain IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, and also Avera Mengistu, an emotionally disturbed individual who crossed the border into Gaza and was captured by Hamas fighters.
Five of the ten power lines leading into Gaza have been damaged so far during the conflict.
In response to the committee’s announcement, the management of the IEC noted that, “The IEC is a government company that is obligated to obey the law. Electricity is a vital commodity and the issue of its provision should remain outside the conflict. The IEC hopes very much that all Israeli citizens will return home.”
On Wednesday, the families of the two captured soldiers organized a large demonstration outside the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, during which the protesters demanded the return of all those being held captive by Hamas as a precondition for any ceasefire that is agreed upon.
“We all support IDF soldiers and we came here today to remind everyone that there should be no ceasefire until our sons come home,” they stated.
MK Idit Silman (Yamina) expressed her support for the position being taken by the IEC workers’ committee, and stated, “I stand behind these employees of the IEC who understand that the greatest moral and ethical imperative for Israeli citizens at this time is to emerge from this conflict in Gaza not just with enhanced deterrence but also with the return of the four Israeli citizens [being held by Hamas].” Also being held in Gaza is Hisham al-Sayed, a Bedouin with Israeli citizenship.
Silman noted that to date, the government has failed to relate to the question of linking a ceasefire to a return of the captives, pointing out, “How distressing it is to see how in the heat of the conflict, Israeli citizens are demonstrating their sense of national responsibility and are even prepared to pay a personal price for this – while the state itself continues to equivocate.”
She added that, “Restoring the power supply to Gaza is a humanitarian issue – as is the return of our sons. We should only be providing Gaza with its humanitarian needs if we in turn receive them from Hamas. If any employee of the IEC is called to a hearing due to his refusal to repair damaged power lines, I will personally accompany him or her to that hearing.”