x

Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 June 2018

West Bank gets Israeli power boost as Gaza endures energy crisis

Jenin to receive additional 60 megawatts under deal between Palestinian Authority and Israel

An Israeli engineer stands in the new electrical substation near the West Bank city of Jenin on July 10, 2017. Abed Omar Qusini / Reuters
An Israeli engineer stands in the new electrical substation near the West Bank city of Jenin on July 10, 2017. Abed Omar Qusini / Reuters

Israel and the Palestinian Authority signed an agreement on Monday to boost electricity supply to the occupied West Bank, even as Gaza endures daily blackouts in a Palestinian political dispute.

Under the deal, Israel's national electric company will sell an additional 60 megawatts of electricity to the power-starved Jenin area, with an option to more than double the supply.

Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah and Israeli energy ministry Yuval Steinitz on Monday opened an electrical substation near Jenin to handle the additional supply, in a rare show of cooperation three years after peace talks collapsed.

The West Bank is dependent on Israeli electricity and the internationally-funded substation is one of four that will be operated in the area by a PA-owned transmission company.

A power boost for the West Bank coincides with an energy crisis in the Gaza Strip, where electricity flows only two to three hours a day and medical facilities and residents who can afford to buy fuel largely rely on generators.

Since last month, the Israeli Energy Corporation has cut its power supply to Gaza by nearly half after the PA slashed its payments to the company for the electricity.

The PA argued that the rival Hamas movement which controls Gaza was not reimbursing it for the cost.

Palestinian political analysts and Hamas have said the PA created an energy crisis to pressure Hamas into loosening its grip on Gaza, a decade after the group seized the enclave from forces of the mainstream Fatah party.