Israel court rules state won't intervene in West Bank power cuts over debt
Ki Price (AFP/File)
The Israeli government has reversed its position on cutting the electricity supply to the West Bank, saying that it will no longer instruct the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) to continue providing service should the Palestinian Authority be unable to pay outstanding debts, Israel's Army Radio reported Monday.
The IEC has since March 31 reduced the 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.
The power cuts came after the Palestinian Authority and the private Palestinian Jerusalem District Electricity Company failed to pay longstanding dues.
The debt amounted to more than 1.7 billion shekels ($450 million, 397 million euros), according to an energy industry official.
The Palestinian Authority is struggling financially and depends largely on foreign aid.
According to the Times of Israel news site, a petition was submitted to Israel's high court earlier this year by the Palestinians over the power cuts, at which time the court instructed the IEC to restore power while the court reviewed whether the state had the authority to intervene over the power cuts.
The High Court decided that the petition was allowed to come under its judgement because the issue was not solely one of economics and debt, but because it also had "a clear security policy aspect, at the root of foreign relations and security of the state," said Army Radio.
Acting Head of the National Security Council, Yaakov Nagel, stated that the state is authorized to order the IEC to avoid interruption of power supply to the Palestinians, however after examination by the relevant authorities, it was decided not to exercise this power, said Army Radio.
In April, the IEC said that Israeli and Palestinian officials had reached an agreement where 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.
Seven percent of the electricity produced in Israel is intended for Palestinian consumption; a quarter of it is transferred to the Gaza Strip.
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If the terrorist Abbas continued his incitement and refusal to negotiate Israel should just turn off that supply once and for all. Let the EU buy the electricity
"Let the EU buy the electricity" As a more civilised entity than Israel I think Europe should when Israel renages on its duty towards the 'protected persons' it occupies.
The Palestinians are legally obligated to pay for the utilities Israel provides. The PA gets hundreds of Millions in tax revenues and aid money, yet cries poverty. Oh, but when everything falls apart, let's blame the Jews.
Given the Israeli state is strangling the Palestinian economy care of 'protected persons' still applies. Neil thinks its the Jews, not Israel.
More nonsense- Palestinians need to take responsibility for themselves, starting with paying their bills. Zimbabwe is dependent on South Africa for power and SA load-sheds their supply when they haven't paid. It's called economics Michael. Perhaps billionaire Abbas can help...
"Palestinians need to take responsibility for themselves, starting with paying their bills." Perhaps a fraction of the over $3billion that US taxpayers have been given the responsibility of supplying to Israel could be diverted for humanitarian reasons to the Palestinians who, as occupied people, Israel is mandated to care for. Economics is difficult when economies are micro-managed by the occupiers.
Again, you're making stuff up!! Israel does not micro manage Gaza or PA failed economies. Heard of Oslo?? And what does Military aid to Israel have to do with Palestinian kleptocracy? What's happened to the billions the Palestinians get? You ever once think that the purpose of US military aid is to help stabilise the region and not just to address Palestinian terrorism?
Michael Farmer! have you ever had a letter from a utility company in the UK saying that your bill has not been paid? I have! I sometimes put the bill to one side meaning to pay it later. Then my final warning comes..usually in red ink.."you have seven days to pay the outstanding amount" etc etc.. if you don't pay we will cut off your power supply. Now this is the "NORM" for most every country in the world! EXCEPT of course for the muslims who live in the west bank. Apparently they expect Israel to supply them with utilities for FREE.. give us one good reason why Israel should not terminate the electricity supply, if they do not pay for electricity consumed.