The Israeli Electricity Company (IEC) is to cut the electricity supply to several parts of the occupied West Bank in response the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s debts, Israeli media reported on Wednesday.
According to the Israeli Public Broadcaster Kan, the action is being taken as a result of the 500-million shekel ($157 million) debt not paid by the PA. The PA has been informed of the decision, the broadcaster said.
Israeli Electricity Company To Cut Electricity Supply In Occupied West Bank https://t.co/bTVxigLh4m
— LN247 (@ln24_7) October 28, 2021
“Starting next Wednesday, rolling blackouts will hit West Bank areas near Jerusalem, including Ramallah and Bethlehem until the debts are paid or a deal is reached,” The Times of Israel reported.
Hisham Omari, director of the Jerusalem District Electricity Company, accused in a statement the Israeli authorities of timing the announcement for political purposes, The Times of Israel noted.
“Israel deliberately creates crises, especially as we enter the winter season, in order to serve its goals,” The Times of Israel quoted Omari as saying.
This is not the first time the electricity supply has been cut to the occupied West Bank. In December 2019, the IEC put in place daily power cuts which lasted three hours disrupting the supply to a number of Palestinian cities.
The report, issued by the electricity regulation board, stated that most families suffering from power cuts (over 88% of them) live in Gaza.
35% of Gaza, West Bank families suffer daily power cuts https://t.co/fIhQaZmP3V
— Justin J Williams (@JustinJWilliam2) August 22, 2021
At the time, the cuts lasted over a month, until the Palestinian-run Jerusalem District Electricity Company (JDECO), which buys electricity from the IEC and then sells it to customers in the West Bank, signed a loan agreement with several Palestinian banks in order to pay off the debt it owed.
Palestinians in the West Bank rely on IEC for over 95 per cent of their electricity supply.
(The Palestine Chronicle, MEMO, Social Media)