Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Surprise? Palestinians Steal Electricity, Then Blame Israel - by Bassam Tawil

The controversy surrounding the unpaid electricity debts is yet another example of the Palestinians' unceasing search for ways to blame Israel for self-inflicted miseries. Instead of assuming responsibility for the electricity theft and unpaid bills and taking punitive measures against the offenders, the Palestinians are doing what they do best: trying their utmost to convince the world that it is all Israel's fault.

Bassam Tawil..
Gatestone Institute..
01 October '19..

For a long time now, many Palestinians have refused to pay their bills to the Arab-owned Jerusalem District Electricity Company (JDEC).

Many other Palestinians, taking a more direct line of theft, have been stealing electrical power from their company, a crime punishable by fines and/or incarceration in any country that respects law and order. The thieves do so by directly hooking to the power line ("cable hooking") or tampering with electric meters.

The JDEC purchases electricity from the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC), the largest supplier of electrical power in Israel. However, because of the electricity theft and widespread non-payment of electrical bills, the JDEC has not been able to pay its debts to the Israeli supplier, IEC.

On September 22, the IEC announced that it has begun cutting power supply to some Palestinian villages and cities in the West Bank to put pressure on the Palestinians to pay their debt of 1.7 billion shekels (about $483 million). The IEC has been trying for years to collect the debt, which over the years has continued to grow. While there has been sporadic payment of some of this debt, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has not forwarded any money to the Israeli company since January 2019, when Israel cut by about half the money it transfers to the Palestinians because of the salaries the PA pays to families of terrorists.

While the Palestinians openly admit that their company loses millions of dollars each year because of the non-payment and electricity theft, they are at the same time claiming to the world that Israel is imposing "collective punishment" on them by cutting the power supply. The Palestinians, in short, are asking the international community to condemn Israel for daring to demand that they pay their debts for the electricity they purchase from the IEC.

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