Under international law, Israel is considered an occupying power in Gaza, even though it has removed its troops and settlers. Denying civilians access to the necessities of life is considered collective punishment and a violation of international law under both the Hague and Geneva conventions although the amounts involved could be subject to dispute.
This is particularly remarkable, because even the “usual suspects” don’t agree that Gaza is clearly “occupied” by Israel. B’tselem, for example, a left-wing human rights organization, will only go so far as to say: “The broad scope of Israeli control in the Gaza Strip, which exists despite the lack of a physical presence of IDF soldiers in the territory, creates a reasonable basis for the assumption that this control amounts to ‘effective control,’ such that the laws of occupation continue to apply.” In any event, the status of Gaza under international law is clearly in dispute [and I, being ignorant and largely of and largely indifferent to, international law, don’t have any view of the issue]. Even for Mr. Erlanger, it’s pretty surprising that he would so blatantly adopt a position on a contentious issue in the middle of a news story.