Israel Demands Release of Hostages for Gaza Siege to End, Says Energy Minister

Water, Fuel, and Electricity Supply Hinges on Safe Return of Israeli Abductees, Announces Israel Katz

 

In a stern declaration on Thursday, Israel’s Energy Minister, Israel Katz, affirmed that the blockade on Gaza would persist until Hamas releases all hostages it has captured. The announcement followed the cutting off of water, fuel, and electricity to Gaza by Israeli authorities in response to a surprise attack by Hamas militants last Saturday.

In a statement posted on social media, Minister Katz asserted, “Humanitarian aid to Gaza? No electrical switch will be turned on, no water pump will be opened, and no fuel truck will enter until the Israeli abductees are returned home.”

Katz, in a previous post, highlighted Israel’s historical provision of electricity, water, and fuel to Gaza, expressing discontent over the perceived lack of gratitude. He accused Hamas of engaging in violence against Israeli citizens, stating that the siege would persist until the threat posed by Hamas is eliminated.

The blockade, initially announced by Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, entails a “complete siege of the Gaza Strip,” including a halt to electricity, food, fuel, and water supply.

“We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly,” stated Gallant in reference to the ongoing conflict.

Concerns over Israel’s actions in Gaza have been raised by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN). EU foreign policy commissioner Josep Borrell remarked that depriving the civilian population of Gaza of essential resources violated international law. The UN announced investigations into potential war crimes during the recent escalation, citing “clear evidence” of serious violations of international human rights laws by both sides.

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The surge in violence began with Hamas launching Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, involving rocket attacks and commando incursions into Israeli territory. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) responded with airstrikes on Gaza and the imposition of a comprehensive blockade, officially declaring war.

As of Thursday morning, Israel reported over 1,300 casualties and 3,300 injuries among its citizens, while Palestinian authorities in Gaza recorded at least 1,203 dead and over 5,763 wounded since the outbreak of hostilities.

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