For full resumption of power, the Palestinians agree to make immediate payment of ₪20 million with promise to engage in negotiations on remaining $444 million within a week, or feel return to ‘darkness.’
Israeli and Palestinian officials reached an agreement on Wednesday to stop several days of rolling blackouts in the West Bank over what Israel says is some $450 million in debt.
Under the agreement, the Palestinian Authority would make an immediate payment of ₪20 million shekels ($5.2 million, €4.6 million) and engage in negotiations on the remainder, the state-run Israel Electricity Corporation said in a statement.
- Israel pulls the plug to Jericho over PA electricity debt of $450 million
- Israel Electric Company cuts power to Palestinian cities over unpaid bills (February 24, 2015)
- Palestinian Authority negotiating deal to pay Israel its electricity bill (April 3, 2014)
The company said it could reinstate the power cuts if a wider agreement is not reached within a week.
Palestinian officials did not immediately comment on the deal.
The powercuts came after the Palestinian Authority and the private Palestinian Jerusalem District Electricity Company failed to pay longstanding dues.
The debt currently amounts to more than 1.7 billion shekels ($450 million, 397 million euros), according to an energy industry official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Palestinian Authority is struggling financially and depends largely on foreign aid.
It relies heavily on Israel for electricity supplies.
The IEC has since March 31 reduced 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.
It ceased doing so however the following month despite the standing debt.
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