Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz on Monday launched the first power plant in the West Bank that transforms high to medium voltage in Jenin, north of the West Bank.
The official ceremony, attended by senior Palestinian and Israeli officials, included signing a commercial agreement between Israeli Electric Corporation (IEC) and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) to increase power supply through operating a new substation in the north of West Bank.
According to the agreement, the PNA will pay around $47 million to the IEC annually, in order to increase the supply of the new power plant by 60 Megawatts (MW) in full operation, Xinhua news agency reported.
Hamdallah hoped that this agreement would pave the way “for a comprehensive agreement to transfer the entire electricity sector to the Palestinian side”.
He also called on Israel to “cooperate in order to build electricity lines and generation plants in order to continue development of natural resources in the area and benefit from its returns”.
The Palestinian energy authority said that there are three other plants in the West Bank under construction and pending signing agreements with Israel to empower Palestine with control over the electricity supply in the West Bank.
The Israeli Energy Minister said that the agreement is bound by payment mechanism and that “the project is a continuation of civil coordination with the Palestinian authorities, understanding that this is in the interest of Israel”.
Palestinians in the West Bank suffer from a deficit in electric supply as they cannot make use of natural resources in areas under full Israeli control, which comprise 62 per cent of the West Bank, according to the Oslo Accords signed between Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Israel in 1993.