Four-hour daily rolling blackouts, carried out by the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) over unpaid bills, begin today in Palestinian areas of the West Bank.
Citing debts totaling $156, 720,160, the blackouts will continue until the debts are paid or an agreement is reached. In the past, Israel has forced the IEC to continue providing electricity to the Palestinian region, but there is no indication that will be the case as these blackouts are close to occurring and there has been no statement from Israel stating they will sustain electricity supply. Certain regions have requested the blackouts avoid critical infrastructure like hospitals, but there has been no response from the IEC indicating this will be the case.
These blackouts follow a history of tension between Israel and Palestine regarding energy. Israel, which holds a monopoly over electricity in Israel and Palestine, has previously restricted energy flows into the Gaza strip and the West Bank. Israel may intend to show the power they hold over necessary resources for Palestinian people. This may be a way to temper Palestinian political power after recent gains in electricity rights and Israel may be going as far as to incite instability.
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Gabbi is the Recruitment and Outrech Coordinator at Foreign Brief. She also writes for the Daily Brief where her regional focus centers on Europe and the former USSR. Gabbi's specialization is in intelligence and international law.