1144 GMT October 19, 2019
Chairman of the Palestinian Energy and Power Resources Authority Thafer Melhem condemned Israel for “blackmailing” the Palestinians by threatening to reduce power supply to several of the West Bank districts, WAFA reported.
Israel's electric company said on Sunday it has begun reducing power supplies to Palestinian areas of the occupied West Bank due to a financial dispute.
The Israel Electric Co. said that it took the step because the Palestinians' main power distributor has debts of roughly $485 million, AP reported.
Ali Hamodeh, an official with the Palestinian distributor, said power is expected to be cut for two hours daily in several Palestinian towns in the coming weeks.
He accused Israel of "exaggerating" the level of debt and called the power cuts a "political exploit."
The Palestinians rely on Israel for nearly all of their electricity.
The electricity crisis has been also ongoing in Gaza for years, with the electricity supply severely limited during some periods.
Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kaila has warned of the consequences of Israel's power cuts in three Palestinian governorates, and the impact on the lives of patients in specific and all citizens in general, in addition to its effect on medicines and vaccines stored in refrigerators.
In a press statement on Saturday evening, the minister said that the power cuts will harm the patients and spoil medicines stored in the refrigerators of their homes, menafn.com reported.
In addition, it will also impact on all citizens, their food, medicines and vaccines stored in refrigerators in homes, health centers clinics.