Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are cashed strapped this winter because Israel is withholding $240 million in tax revenue to the Palestinian Authority as punishment for joining the ICC. This is radical, though it’s not unusual and something we’ve come to expect. But turning off the electricity in the middle of winter as blizzards sweep across the Middle East is nothing short of sadistic. The Los Angeles Times reports Israel cut the power to more than 700,000 Palestinians in two of Palestine’s largest urban areas, Nablus and Jenin, for more than 45 minutes “and warned that more outages are coming if Palestinian officials don’t pay millions of dollars in outstanding debt.”
Citing Yiftah Ron-Tal, the director of Israel Electric Corp. (IEC), the Times reports:
“Customers who do not pay electric bills are disconnected; yet here we have an entire population that doesn’t pay while we continue to supply electricity,” he said. “The Palestinian Authority owes the IEC — meaning the paying consumers — nearly 2 billion Israeli shekels [about $500 million]. A year has passed since I said this last and nothing has changed. Starting today, we will begin restricting electricity.”
The irony here, of withholding the months of tax revenue while demanding payment of a debt, on top of occupation policy preventing Palestinians from being self sufficient, is not lost on anyone.
– Read more: Israel Turns off Power to Hundreds of Thousands of Palestinians in the Dead of Winter – Mondoweiss