PA says deal with Israel to resolve electricity issues a huge accomplishment

Palestinian Authority spokesman Youssef al-Mahmoud Wednesday said the deal reached between the state of Palestine and Israel is a huge accomplishment, because it puts an end to Israel’s control over the power sector.

In a press release, al-Mahmoud said the deal will give the Palestinian Energy Authority full control over the power sector for the first time since 1994.

According to Israeli sources, the PA will become the only Palestinian agency the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) has to deal with, and will assume full responsibility for paying the electric company.

The deal is expected to resolve a long-standing dispute over the Palestinians’ debts to the IEC. Israeli media said the agreement will involve erasing hundreds of millions of shekels of the debt, which currently amount to around two billion shekels ($530 million).

Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh told local media that the PA will have to pay the remaining debt within four years.

In return, Israel will transfer tax money withheld from the PA on a monthly basis and stop deducting money to pay for the debt if the latter commits to paying the full electrify bill as agreed.

The deal will give the Palestinian government full control over the power sector and commit Israel to deal with Palestine as a state importing power, instead of individuals.

The donors, including Norway, which heads the forum of donor states to the PA, will commit to extra support to the power sector in Palestine through a conference of donor states that will take place on September 19, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

The deal, al-Mahmoud said, comes as part of the PA’s determination to enjoy its powers as a state.

Al-Sheikh also referred to what he called a “new commercial agreement” that will be implemented within six months from the date of signing.

Source: WAFA