Diakonia - People change the world

Cutting off electricity and water supply for Gaza Strip

Limits under international law.  Preliminary expert opinion submitted by Michael Bothe, Professor emeritus of international law, J.W. Goethe University, Fankfurt/ Main.


On 14 July Jonathan Lis,Haaretz wrote[1] that Israel was permitted to cut off water, fuel and electricity supplies to the Gaza Strip in the context of the current hostilities. This report was based on a legal opinion submitted to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on 14 July 2014, in preparation for a committee hearing scheduled for 15 July. The opinion was formulated by Prof. Avi Bell of Bar-Ilan University. 

Having received the legal opinion in question, Diakonia subsequently asked Prof. Dr. Michael Bothe to provide an expert legal opinion in response. In accordance with Prof. Bothe's legal opinion, Diakonia wishes to clarify that such policy is illegal under international law. In his conclusion, Prof. Bothe finds that: 

"Under international humanitarian law, Israel is obliged, in the current conditions of armed conflict, to maintain water supplies from Israel to the Gaza strip at current level and of an electricity supply sufficient to meet the needs of the civilian population." 

Please find links to both Prof. Bothe's Expert Opinion and highlights from the original opinion submitted to the Knesset by Prof. Avi Bell.