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Official: Israel 'serious' about cutting West Bank power

Aug. 23, 2012 10:30 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 24, 2012 3:34 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli and Palestinian officials will meet this week to discuss the Palestinian electric company's debts and set a payment schedule to postpone blackouts in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian Energy Authority director Omar Kittaneh and the director of an Israeli company will attend the meeting, said Hisham al-Omari, the director of the Jerusalem Electric Company.

Al-Omari said the Israeli electric company is demanding back payments and is serious about cutting off electricity to Ramallah, Bethlehem Jericho and parts of Jerusalem if payments are not received.

The Jerusalem Electric Company owes about 415 million shekels ($104 million), he said.

Al-Omari blamed the Palestinian Authority for failing to seek payments from refugee camps and said the company could not take responsibility for the camps, which are exempted from paying for electricity.

"The PA should take financial responsibility for the refugee camps. The camps are part of us, and they have to take responsibility and pay their bills," he said.

Al-Omari will meet with the minister of finance, Nabil Qasis, and energy authority director Kittaneh to resolve the issue, he said.
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