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Israel says deal reached to halt power cuts in West Bank

The power supply cuts in Jericho affected up to 20,000 people in a total population of 50,000 in the city and surrounding area
Thomas Coex (AFP/File)
Palestinians to make immediate payment of $5.2 million, engage in negotiations on remaining $444 million

Israeli and Palestinian officials reached an agreement on Wednesday to stop several days of rolling blackouts in the West Bank over what Israel says is some $450 million in debt.

Under the agreement, the Palestinian Authority would make an immediate payment of 20 million shekels ($5.2 million, 4.6 million euros) and engage in negotiations on the remainder, the state-run Israel Electricity Corporation said in a statement.

The company said it could reinstate the power cuts if a wider agreement is not reached within a week.

Palestinian officials did not immediately comment on the deal.

The powercuts came after the Palestinian Authority and the private Palestinian Jerusalem District Electricity Company failed to pay longstanding dues.

The debt currently amounts to more than 1.7 billion shekels ($450 million, 397 million euros), according to an energy industry official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Palestinian Authority is struggling financially and depends largely on foreign aid. 

It relies heavily on Israel for electricity supplies.

The IEC has since March 31 reduced power supply for hours at a time to Jericho, Bethlehem and Hebron, causing blackouts that Palestinian officials said threatened to cause further economic damage.

In January 2015, the IEC cut the power to Palestinian cities for a number of hours every day over a similar debt.

It ceased doing so however the following month despite the standing debt.

Comments

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"These muslims have had over 2.6 billion dollars in funding and aid from western governments in jus a few years." ... and those land-thieving murdering Israelis have had over $3billion welfare from their sugar-daddy protector America year on year for decades .....

and golly gee wizz, look what these "thieving murderers" have built...a thriving democracy!! and what do the palestinians have? a kleptomaniac leadership that continues to steal while its people suffer in order to feed it's made-up "cause". Michael, you're ignorant to believe that Israel gives nothing back in return, unlike the palestinian leadership who just take (from the US/EU/Arabs/UN...just about everyone) to line their greed-fueled pockets.

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