(photo credit: REUTERS)
The High Court of Justice on Wednesday issued an interim order to the Israel Electric Corporation to continue providing power to Palestinian towns and cities in the West Bank and to certain areas in east Jerusalem pending further notice.
The decision followed recent reductions in power by IEC to those areas in a battle over debts it is owed by the Palestinian Authority and by the Jerusalem District Electricity Company.
The Jerusalem District Electricity Company filed the petition on behalf of the areas where power had been reduced.
The IEC said in a statement to The Jerusalem Post that it respects the High Court’s decision while still demanding that Jerusalem District Electricity Company pay off its ever-ballooning NIS 1.4 billion debt to them. The JDEC oversees the provision of power for Jericho, Bethlehem, Ramallah and parts of east Jerusalem.
The IEC asserted that it deserves to be paid for the electricity it provides. “It is every business’s legitimate right, and the obligation of the IEC, to do everything in its power in order to solve this debt problem,” the company said in a statement, adding the debt is a “burden on the shoulders of all of the IEC’s consumers in Israel.”
The Jerusalem District Electricity Company argued that the sides have reached a temporary arrangement in which it will pay some of the funds it owes the IEC while it negotiates over the overall debt.
It viewed the reduction of power as an illegal attempt by the IEC to pressure it in the negotiations. The PA routinely runs into shortages of funds issues in a variety of areas.
The sides are due to submit additional arguments in writing on May 15 and May 22, followed potentially by another hearing and a final order on the issue by the High Court.
The State of Israel owns approximately 99.85% of the IEC.