Press Release
Contact Information: Hussein Ibish
June 29, 2006 - 12:00am

Washington, D.C., June 30 -- The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) today voiced extreme concern at the targeting of vital Palestinian civilian infrastructure in Gaza by the Israeli army. The most damaging of this targeting was the destruction of the six transformers at Gaza's only power station on June 28, which is owned by a U.S. company and whose repair expense will be borne by U.S. taxpayers. This has resulted in the cutting off of electricity to 700,000 Palestinian civilians, threatening water supplies and depriving people of light and cooling in a region where daily temperatures exceed 100 degrees. Electricity is needed to pump water to homes and businesses, resulting in the water supply being reduced by 50 percent. In addition, it is estimated that there are only three days left of fuel supplies, which are critical for powering hospital generators, preserving food stocks, and producing bread. Other civilian infrastructure targeted by the Israeli army includes Palestinian government buildings and educational institutions.

International organizations such as the United Nations and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have called on Israel to allow urgent medical and food supplies into Gaza. United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland has told Reuters that Gaza is three days away from a deadly humanitarian crisis unless Israel promptly restores fuel and electricity. ATFP calls on the government of Israel to immediately allow fuel supplies into Gaza and use the connection of its electricity grid to Gaza's to restore power to the area. Dorothea Krimitsas, ICRC spokeswoman has emphasized that "under international law, Israel has the obligation to allow humanitarian supplies into Gaza. It also has the duty to ensure that the vital supplies for the population, including food and medicine, are adequate."

ATFP reminds all parties that there is no military solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the destruction of Gaza?s vital infrastructure can only further escalate tensions and fuel the cycle of violence. "Punitive measures inflicted on the Palestinian civilian population will only result in a radicalization of that population and the further marginalizing of Palestinian moderate voices," cautioned ATFP president Dr. Ziad Asali. He added: "Neither Israeli security nor Palestinian statehood is furthered in such an environment."


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017