BBC sidesteps the story of PA electricity debt to Israel

The latest chapter in a long-running saga played out over this last week when the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) found it necessary to make short, temporary cuts in the power supply to Jericho, Bethlehem and Hebron.hevrat hashmal

“The IEC says the Palestinian authorities have racked up a debt of 1.74 billion shekels ($460 million), which the company can no longer absorb. Of that sum, the IEC says NIS 300,000 ($79,350) is owed by the Palestinian Authority. […]

 “I don’t know of any company that would be agree to do nothing about a NIS 1.74 million debt owed by another company,” IEC Chairman Yiftah Ron Tal said. “The time has come to put an end to the situation in which the debts just bloom. We weren’t left with any choice. We’re limiting electricity in a proportionate way. I call on those with authority to help us to collect the debts.””

The additional NIS 1.4 billion ($371 million/ £264.6 million) of the debt is owed by the Palestinian-run Jerusalem District Electricity Company (JDECO).

On April 6th a temporary agreement was reached:

“The deal struck Wednesday morning will see the PA pay off NIS 20 million of that debt and give negotiators one week to reach an understanding over settling the rest of the money owed.

If no deal is reached in time, according to a report by Channel 10, then the power cuts will resume.”

As readers may recall, in the past Israel has sometimes tackled the same long-term problem of the PA’s unpaid debts to the IEC by withholding tax transfers and on those occasions the BBC has reported the story with alacrity – but while failing to inform audiences of the scale of the debt and the reasons for its accumulation.

Despite the current pertinence of the topic of the Palestinian Authority’s financial priorities for British tax-payers, the BBC elected not to report this latest chapter in the ongoing saga of the foreign donor funded PA.

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