The Palestinian Authority debt to the Israel Electric Corp (IEC) stands at $400 million and the quasi government company’s chairman Yiftach Ron-Tal told the Knesset Finance Committee Tuesday, “If we were a private company, we would have stopped supplying electricity to the Palestinian Authority and the Gaza Strip long ago.”
The PA debt for electricity is an old story, but the difference now is that Israel no longer is talking common sense – and cents – probably as another show of weakness in the lose-lose game of “don’t blame me for the failure of John Kerry’s Frankensteinian peace.”
In the past, when the Electric Corp. said it had enough of financing the Palestinian Authority by giving it electricity without payment, the Israeli government would stop sending to Ramallah monthly payments of taxes the government pays for the PA on goods from Israel.
The usual tactic has been discarded since Kerry came to town.
In December, the Israel Electric Corp. said the debt had climbed to more than $300 million and would continue to rise. Right they were.
Most of the debt is owed by none other than something called the Jerusalem District Electricity Company, a private Arab distributor of electricity that it receives from the IEC and then supplies to Arab parts of Jerusalem the Palestinian Authority want as part of the new country Kerry is trying to help them create.
The IEC said in December that the Palestinian Authority was beginning to pay back the debt bit by bit, but not even enough keep the debt from increasing.
The IEC has given the Palestinian Authority the option of paying back the money or getting slapped with an increase in the price of electricity, which is a bit silly since that simply would raise the debt.
More interesting is that Arabs in the Palestinian Authority pay less than Israelis for power, according to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency. Perhaps that is the criminal discrimination to which Richard Falk, the United Naitons’ chief anti-Israel official, was referring to on Monday when he issued his last – thank God – report as chairman of the U.N. Human Rights Council.
IEC chairman Ron-Tal told the Knesset Finance Committee Tuesday, “If an ordinary person does not pay his electricity bill, we disconnect him within a week. Here, despite the huge debt to the company, we are forced to continuing supplying electricity to the Palestinian Authority. Our owners are the government, and it has to make a decision on this matter. This debt must be collected.”
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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