Silvan Shalom at cabinet meeting 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom on Thursday threatened to cut off Israel’s electric supply to the Palestinian Authority if it did not pay its massive debts.
“They have over a billion shekels of debt and they’ll need to pay them,” he told the Jerusalem Post at the Israel Democracy Institute’s Eli Hurvitz Conference on Economy and Society in Eilat. “We sent them a letter this week and if they don’t give the right response, we will be forced to act.”
Shalom’s comments came as US Secretary of State John Kerry was in the country to promote peace negotiations. Asked whether he was concerned that cutting off Palestinian electricity would affect the negotiations, Shalom responded, “There could be repercussions, but they should pay.”
“I’m responsible for your electricity, so you don’t have to pay because of them,” he added.
Israel has made similar threats in the past over unpaid electric debts, but has yet to follow through.