By Oyintari Ben
According to a statement made on Tuesday by a spokesman for Israel’s finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, Israel will start taking money out of revenues it collects for the Palestinian Authority (PA) to assist in paying off the PA’s rising debt for power use in the West Bank.
The spokesman claimed that the Palestinian Authority (PA) owed Israel Electric Corp (IEC) (ISECO.UL), a state-run company, 2 billion shekels ($528 million) in debt for power usage.
He said the deduction might total up to 20 or 30 million shekels every month, depending on how much electricity the PA purchases, and that it was legitimate.
“That (debt) will have to be paid for as noted in agreements,” he declared.
Due to its financial difficulties, the PA has been unable to pay civil salaries for the past two years.
Since the power company is a private company that is not a part of the PA, Israeli deductions of additional sums of money, according to Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, constitute systematic piracy and theft of Palestinian funds.
He said the action was “a financial war that is not isolated from the ongoing political war against our people and that seeks to undermine our people’s hope in establishing their independent state with Jerusalem as its capital” and achieving their goal of securing their rights.
($1 = 3.7902 shekels)