Palestine has refused to pay its electrical bill for years, and has not given any indication that it will do so. The Israel Electric Company (IEC) decided to institute a 45-minute blackout every day until Palestine repays its debt of nearly $500 million.
Two cities in the area of Palestine known as the West Bank, Nablus and Jenin, will lose electricity every day for up to 45 minutes. The IEC plans to continue the blackouts until the Palestinian Authority repays its debt.
Though Palestinian officials have complained that the blackouts are in response to current international tensions, the bills have been accumulating for years and the Palestinian Authority doesn’t seem to have payment plans.
Palestinians are annoyed by this development as they pay Palestine for the electricity, but are still subject to the blackout. Many, like Nablus resident Mahmoud Arafat, question what Palestine does with their payments if the IEC is not being paid.
“I feel like a sucker,” Arafat said. “I pay my electric bills, but still suffered from the blackout.”
Though Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been accused of ordering the blackout, he states it was a decision made solely by the IEC, which is short on money and can’t afford to continue sending electricity without repayment.
“It was an independent decision that wasn’t done on the orders of the political leadership,” officials in the Prime Minister’s Office said.
Palestine receives hundreds of millions in foreign aid in addition to charging their population for the Israeli-supplied electricity.