Palestinians Owe Israel Billion Shekels for Electricity

YERUSHALAYIM -

The Palestinians owe Israel over 1 billion shekels in unpaid electricity bills, Globes reports.

The Israel Electric Corporation listed the debt in its financial report for the third quarter of 2013, published this week.

Palestinian consumers frequently fail to pay their electricity bills, and Israel used to deduct the debt from the PA’s VAT revenues. But this collection method was suspended at the request of the U.S., resulting in the ballooning debt.

Despite receiving more foreign aid than any other recipient in the world on a per capita basis, the Palestinians have built no electricity plant of their own.

Although the BG Group discovered almost 20 years’ worth of gas at the offshore Marine Gaza field in 1999, nothing has been done to develop it.

Theoretically, the Palestinians could become energy independent in three to four years, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is committed to allowing the Palestinians to develop the Marine Gaza field. His special emissary, Adv. Yitzhak Molcho, is responsible for talks on the subject, but no explanation has been forthcoming about why they have not produced any concrete plan.