Skip to main content

Will Israel’s power cuts leave West Bank towns in the dark?

Israel will start cutting power in the Palestinian towns of Bethlehem and Jericho due to electricity debts owed by the PA, which Palestinian officials say they "don't even dream of being able to pay back."
Electricity pylons and power transmission lines are seen at night near Kibbutz Negba in southern Israel May 17, 2012. Israel Electric Corp (IEC), which is responsible for nearly every aspect of electricity from running power plants to connecting households, simply cannot keep up with growing demand.The state-owned utility just lost natural gas supplies from neighbouring Egypt and fuel costs are soaring. Reserves are low and capacity insufficient and the government, under pressure from massive cost-of-living
Read in 

The Jerusalem district of the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC), which supplies power to all the Palestinian communities in the West Bank, started imposing sanctions on the Palestinian Authority at the beginning of April to force it to repay a huge debt. The company cut power to cities in the West Bank for several hours a day, starting with Bethlehem and Jericho — two of the most quiet Palestinian towns. The Palestinians expect the electric company to add other communities to the list in the coming days — most likely Nablus, Jenin and perhaps Hebron — to increase pressure on the PA.

One thing is clear: Any punitive measure against the PA, even cutting off the power supply 24/7, will not make the Palestinians pay their debt. According to the IEC’s announcement, the PA owes 1.74 billion Israeli shekels (about $430 million) — practically equal to all the funding the PA gets annually from the European Union states.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.