After Yericho and Beit Lechem, it’s Chevron’s turn to sit in the dark for several hours Tuesday. The Israel Electric Company will cut the flow of power to the Palestinian Authority-controlled city of Chevron by 50 percent, Army Radio reported Tuesday morning. The power cut is due to the massive debt the PA owes the IEC and has refused to pay for years. Last Thursday, the IEC cut power to Yericho by 50 percent, and on Sunday Beit Lechem was the target.
The move has been approved by defense officials, the report said. Previous attempts to cut power to PA cities, including Shechem and Ramallah, were met with opposition by officials who feared it would increase tensions. The current campaign will go on for at least two weeks, the IEC said.
The PA owes the IEC over NIS 1.7 billion ($440 million), most of it due to debts by the East Jerusalem Power Company, which serves Ramallah, Yericho, Beit Lechem, and Arab villages in the area of Yerushalayim.
Last year, the IEC cut power twice for several hours to several PA cities before the government intervened, and gave the company NIS 300 million out of customs and taxes collected by Israel on behalf of the PA. The government has so far not commented on the matter, and neither has the PA.