Middle East

Israel to deduct unpaid electricity bills from Palestinian tax revenues

Palestinian electricity debts amount to $127 million, according to Israeli Ministry of Finance

02.11.2021 - Update : 02.11.2021
Israel to deduct unpaid electricity bills from Palestinian tax revenues


The Israeli government is set to deduct the unpaid electricity bills of the Palestinian Authority (PA) from the tax revenues, according to the Israeli finance ministry on Tuesday.

Israel Today newspaper quoted Hamad Ammar, an official in the Israeli Ministry of Finance, as saying that the PA owes NIS 400 million (around $127 million) to the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) due to its failure to collect payments from residents.

Ammar, who is also a member of the right-wing Yisrael Beitenu party, said he had instructed the Tax Authority to “coordinate broad lines with the PA,” with the aim of deducting the debts from the tax revenues – known in Palestine and Israel as "maqasa."

The tax revenues are collected by the Israeli government on behalf of the PA on Palestinian imports and exports. Israel in return earns a commission of 3% of collected revenues.

The Israeli government usually deducts the debts owed by the PA to Israeli companies and suppliers from the tax revenues.

The PA, which buys electricity from the IEC, is yet to issue a comment regarding Ammar's statements.

Israel Today newspaper noted that the current arrangements between Israel and the PA provide that the latter is supposed to pay for the electricity consumption of its residents.

In recent weeks, the IEC threatened to cut off electricity to areas in the occupied West Bank due to unpaid bills.

*Writing by Ibrahim Mukhtar

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