The Palestinian Authority has joined
a seven-fold electric power grid, which will allow
it to become less dependent on Israeli supply of
electricity within four years.
The announcement was made earlier
this week during a meeting of ministers of electricity
and energy in the network member countries.
An interconnected electricity network,
which includes Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Syria, Iraq,
Libya and Lebanon, decided to incorporate the Palestinian
Palestinians living in the West Bank
are almost entirely dependent on Israeli electricity
(95 percent), while those who live in the Gaze Strip
receive 60% of their power needs from Israel.
Jordanian Minister of Energy and Mineral
Resources Khaldoun Qteishat said the PA's accession
to the now eight- fold electric grid would help
the country face the challenges of providing safety
and security of power supply.
"We are all invited to help Palestine
recognize this goal," he said, according to the
Jordanian official news agency Petra.
Palestinian Energy Authority general
director Omar Kittana signed the agreement in Amman.
In an interview with The Media Line,
Kittana said the agreement, which came after yearlong
preparations, was "historic."
"This will reduce our dependence on
Israel, but not entirely," he said, adding that
the PA did not wish to separate itself completely
from Israel Electric.
"The Palestinians are not obliged
to take their electricity from any specific source.
It is a diversification of sources of energy," Kittana
Laying the infrastructure that would
connect the Palestinian electricity systems in the
Gaza Strip and the West Bank with those of Egypt
and Jordan is expected to take four years.
Kittana refused to say how much electricity
the PA would buy from Israel after its connection
to the network was completed.
"The idea of interconnection is not
to replace one source with the other," he said.
"The idea is to optimize the sources and getting
the electricity from the cheapest and highest-quality
source. We will have the flexibility of choosing
In an interview with a Palestinian
newspaper, Kittana said during the first stage,
the Gaza Strip would draw 150 megawatts from Egypt,
which is two-thirds of its power demands.
Israel today supplies Gaza with 120
An estimated $50 million is needed
to finance the interconnection project. The Islamic
Bank for Development has already promised to participate
in the financing of the project, contributing $32m.
Israel has given all the necessary approvals regarding
Originally published by The Media
Line, Special to The Jerusalem Post.
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