The Israeli High Court of Justice approved on Wednesday afternoon the Israeli army reduction in fuel and power supplies to the Gaza strip.The court decided that the reduced shipments of the supplies are legal, as long as they meet the humanitarian needs of the 1.5 million Gazans.

The Israeli government has placed the Gaza Strip under strict siege since last June 2007, and in the following October the Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the Israeli army, which controls all crossings in and out of the Palestinian coastal region, to reduce the supply of electricity, gasoline and diesel that enter Gaza.

Two weeks ago the Israeli government stopped all supplies from entering Gaza, leaving the region without electricity and food. Several days later, Israel allowed reduced shipments of fuel and food supplies to enter Gaza after facing international criticism.

The three-judge panel court said that its decision was to counter the Palestinian home-made shell attacks on Israeli towns near the Gaza Strip. Israeli attacks and the siege on the Gaza strip over the past two weeks have left at least 50 Palestinians dead, whereas Palestinian home-made shell attacks aimed at Israeli towns near Gaza have left Israelis mildly injured in the same period of time.

The judges stated in their ruling that “in a time of war, civilians are the first and fundamental casualties, even when efforts are being exerted to reduce harming civilians”.

They also considered the resistance as terrorist attacks since it targets civilians in Israel, according to the court, which failed to recognize the fact that the Israeli siege and shelling is causing thousands of civilian casualties, including children, women and elderly.

One of the judges said that the Gaza Strip is controlled by a terrorist group, referring to Hamas, and that this group is violating the international law by “shelling Israel and its residents”.

The Adalah Center considered this ruling as a serious issue which is allowing the Israeli government to continue its violations against the Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip without any fear of legal prosecution which is a direct violation to the International Law.

Furthermore, in its ruling on Wednesday, the Israeli court dismissed a petition presented by several Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations seeking to stop the reduction of fuel and electricity supplies to Gaza.

The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel – Adalah, a leading human rights group in Israel- opposes those cuts, and told Israeli media agencies that the high court decision was ‘a dangerous precedent.’

A spokesperson for Hamas in Gaza, Fawzi Barhoum, told media that the court decision shows the ‘criminal, ugly face of the Israeli occupation.’