Thursday, April 09, 2015
Palestinians Demand...Free Electricity
The PA's Audacity - Editorial
In December, Israel froze the transfer of tax revenue it collected on the PA's behalf after the PA decided to join the International Criminal Court in order to instigate proceedings against Israel for alleged war crimes. Following pressure from Washington, the government relented and handed over to Ramallah NIS 1.37 billion. But Israel held back a symbolic NIS 160,000 to defray a fraction of the PA's NIS 2b. debt to the Israel Electric Corporation. The PA is also in massive arrears to Mekorot for water piped to it and to Israeli hospitals for unpaid medical bills.
According to PA President Mahmoud Abbas' arithmetic, this token deduction amounts to "a full third of the total." Therefore, he said, he refuses to accept any of the money and is prepared to take Israel to the ICC over the matter. It might be absurd to presume that collecting a small portion of enormous outstanding utility bills can be portrayed as a war crime. But what holds true for other nations is not so in Israel's case.
If Abbas does press this matter at the ICC, it would be interesting to see if the jurists actually rule that it is an inalienable Palestinian right to enjoy free electricity at the direct expense of Israeli consumers.