Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday the United States ''will not abandon the innocent Palestinians in Gaza,'' shortly after Israel declared the territory to be an enemy entity in order to cut off power and fuel supplies to the coastal strip.
At the same time, Rice said Gaza, ruled by the Islamic militant Hamas group, ''is a hostile entity to us as well.''
Israel's Security Cabinet -- the country's top political and defense ministers -- did not set a date for a cutoff. A statement from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office said Israel did not intend to provoke a humanitarian crisis.
That may not be the intention, but it most certainly will be the result. Gaza is densely populated with some of the poorest people on Earth, and such measures will only worsen an already bad situation. For what it's worth Israel's actions can be considered "collective punishment", which is illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention, a treaty which Israel is a signatory to. For its part, Hamas regards the decision as an act of war.