Israel confirms halt to West Bank's rolling blackouts

Published 07.04.2016 00:00
Updated 07.04.2016 00:40

Israeli and Palestinian officials reportedly reached an agreement on Wednesday to halt several days of rolling blackouts in the occupied West Bank, over what Israel says is some $450 million in debt. Under the agreement, the Palestinian Authority would make an immediate payment of 20 million shekels (approximately $5.2 million, or 4.6 million euros) and engage in negotiations over the remainder, said the state-run Israel Electricity Corporation (IEC) in a statement. The company said it could reinstate the power cuts if a wider agreement is not reached within a week.

Palestinian officials did not immediately comment on the deal. The Palestinian Authority is struggling financially and depends largely on foreign aid. Their economy has faltered, in part due to Israeli restrictions on the West Bank, which relies heavily on Israel for electricity supplies.

The IEC has since March 31 reduced power supply for hours at a time to Jericho, Bethlehem and Hebron, causing blackouts that Palestinian officials said threatened to cause further economic damage.

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