Israel is threatening to turn off the lights to the Palestinian Authority – at least temporarily – because the entity owes more than a billion shekels to the Israel Electric Corporation.
The question is whether the PA even intends to pay up, given its new deal to form a unity government with a terrorist organization dedicated to the total destruction of Israel.
The debt has reached 1.5 billion, to be exact. It grows by another NIS 80 million a month. Of that, NIS 566 million is a direct debt of the Palestinian Authority. NIS 966 is owed by the Jerusalem District Electricity Company, which serves eastern Jerusalem.
It’s not clear whether the PA pays anything at all to reduce the debt although IEC auditor Brightman Almagor told the Globes business news service there does not appear to be any risk the debt will not be paid. However, IEC also readily admits there is no real way to force the PA to pay its bill.
Recently Israel has begun to take action on its own in the form of sanctions. The state now funnels some payments to the IEC from tax monies collected on behalf of the PA that normally would have been transferred to the entity instead.
According to Globes, IEC chairman Yiftach Ron-Tal wrote last week to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, informing him, “We have no choice but to take legal action against the state, against the Palestinian Authority, and Jerusalem District Electricity Company Ltd. At the same time, we intend to restrict the supply of electricity.”
The problem is, legal experts have told the Knesset that cutting electricity to the PA could be considered a “war crime” in the international arena — complicating things even more.
Hana Levi Julian