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Professors to Sue over Electric Co.’s Pro-PA Bias

Professors warn: if Electric Co. keeps giving Palestinians free electricity, it cannot cut off Israeli debtors, either.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 3/17/2014, 2:42 PM

Electric company worker
Electric company worker
Flash 90

If the Electric Company continues to provide Palestinian Arabs with electricity, it will lose its legal right to cut off power to Israeli customers for non-payment, professors have warned.

The Professors for a Strong Israel Forum sent a letter Monday warning the Electric Co. that its policy of continuing to supply power to Palestinian Authority (PA) regions despite the PA's refusal to pay is tantamount to discrimination.

Attorney Daniel Ginat wrote, “Recently my client was informed, via the media, that you have chosen not to cut off power to the Palestinian Authority, despite the latter party refusing to pay its debt and, moreover, running up debts of billions of shekels.

“If this is true, you have violated the principle of equal collection of payment. The practical effect is illegal collection of payment for electricity from all citizens of the state of Israel,” he warned.

“Given the fact that you are a public and government company, non-collection of debt means collecting additional payment from the rest of your customers,” he explained.

“If you are going to erase debts, why not erase the debts of Israeli citizens?” Ginat asked. “Similarly, just as you cut Israeli citizens off from the electric network for non-payment, you must do the same for the Palestinian Authority, and when you do not – it constitutes unequal, selective enforcement, which is prohibited by law.”

Ginat warned that his clients are considering a lawsuit “in the name of all citizens of Israel.” He concluded, “Please inform me of your stance at the earliest opportunity.”

Electric Company officials have previously stated that they would prefer to cut off electricity to the PA, but that the government has decided against doing so. The company provides power to Hamas-controlled Gaza as well as to PA-controlled areas in Judea and Samaria (Shomron).