Days of Palestine, West Bank –For the second time this week, Israeli occupation cut on Wednesday power to West Bank cities of Nablus and Jenin.
Israeli Electric Corporation (IEC) said it cut the power over Palestinian Authority (PA) unpaid debt of NIS 1.9 billion ($482 million).
The state-owned electric company said the hour-long blackouts served as a warning over the outstanding bills accrued by Palestinian utility companies that buy electricity from the company and distribute it to West Bank cities and towns.
On Monday, the electric company cut power to the same West Bank cities for a period of 45 minutes, marking the first time the company intentionally shut off electricity supply to Palestinian areas.
In a statement released by the IEC on Wednesday, the company said it was forced to intervene to reduce the deficit.
“Having issued numerous warnings and attempts to reach an agreement, the IEC’s board instructed the CEO to take action to minimise the debt,” the statement said.
After Monday’s blackout, mayors of Nablus and Jenin said the move was politically motivated and called it a form of “collective punishment.”
The Palestinian Authority says it is strapped for cash after Israeli occupation froze the transfer of approximately half a billion dollars in tax revenues as a punitive measure against unilateral diplomatic moves by Ramallah to gain statehood recognition.
Palestinian officials have warned that if Israeli occupation does not transfer the frozen funds, the Palestinian Authority would terminate its security cooperation with it.
Last week, US Secretary of State John Kerry warned that the Palestinian Authority could collapse without a cash injection.
Analysts have said the financial crisis could snowball into an escalation in violence.