PA: We Won’t Pay Gaza Electricity Bill

YERUSHALAYIM -
Gaza City seen in the background near the border fence between Israel and Gaza (foreground). (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The amount of electricity flowing to Gaza is likely to slow to a trickle, after the Palestinian Authority informed both Israel and Hamas that it would no longer pay Gaza’s electricity bill at all, or would at least cut payments dramatically. In a meeting last week with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, PA officials said that they were tired of sharing the blame for Hamas’ terror activities, as the humanitarian aid transferred to Gaza — including money to pay for basic services — is used to build terror tunnels and pay terrorists.

A report on Channel Two said that top PA officials in recent days have said that they have had enough of Hamas’ antics, and they would no longer pay for them — starting with its electricity bill. Under current arrangements, Israel supplies power to Gaza, with the PA billing Gaza residents and transferring the payment to the Israel Electric Corporation. However, the payments account only for a portion of the total bill; the rest is paid by the PA out of money it receives from international donors specifically for the humanitarian needs of Gaza.

Hamas is using these resources to expand its terror activities and further expand its power at the expense of the PA, Channel Two quoted PA officials as telling Kahlon at their meeting last week. “They are running a ‘luxury’ revolution, establishing a shadow government to replace” the PA, the officials said. “They constantly attack us” and PA chief Mahmoud Abbas. Gaza’s monthly electricity bill is NIS 40 million a month, but the PA is set to cut that substantially — either not paying at all, or paying just NIS 25 million if there was no other choice. “If you want to make up the difference, that is your problem,” the officials told Kahlon. “We are not concerned with a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.”