Israel Electric cuts Palestinian power again

Julie Wiener

(JTA) — Two West Bank cities had their electricity cut for the second time in a week because of unpaid bills.

The state-owned Israel Electric Corp. cut power for an hour to Nablus and Jenin on Wednesday to protest what it says is $482 million in debt. The company also briefly cut power to the cities on Monday.

In a statement released by the Israel Electric on Wednesday, the company said, “Having issued numerous warnings and attempts to reach an agreement, the IEC’s board instructed the CEO to take action to minimize the debt,” the Times of Israel reported.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen criticized the electric company’s decision, citing the potentially high humanitarian and diplomatic costs the blackouts would cause, according to Haaretz.

The Palestinian Authority blamed its unpaid bills on Israel withholding approximately $127 million in tax revenues in retaliation for the Palestinians’ unilateral statehood recognition efforts.