BBC again avoids informing audiences about PA debt to Israel

On March 27th the BBC News website informed its readers that Israel’s withholding of Palestinian Authority tax revenues had “crippled the Palestinian economy” and was responsible for “fuelling violence” in PA controlled areas.

“The decision to freeze the tax transfers to the PA, which provide two-thirds of its income, forced it to cut by 40% the salaries of thousands of government employees and announce an emergency budget.

On Wednesday, the governor of the Palestinian central bank said the tax transfer freeze was leading to a rapid economic deterioration and leaving the banking system dangerously exposed.”

By April 6th the PA’s financial situation had apparently become miraculously less precarious because the Palestinian president was able to refuse the sum of $400 million transferred by Israel.

In an article titled “Palestinian Authority rejects Israel tax transfer” the BBC reported that:PA tax transfer

“Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas says he has refused to accept hundreds of millions of dollars of tax revenues unfrozen by Israel.

Mr Abbas says he returned the money because Israel deducted a third to pay for what it called utility bills.

He has threatened to take Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC) unless the full amount is released. […]

Speaking at a rally in Ramallah, President Abbas demanded the tax revenues in full.

“We are returning the money. Either they give it to us in full or we go to arbitration or to the ICC. We will not accept anything else.””

The BBC’s report does not make any attempt to inform audiences on the debatable issue of whether or not such a topic even falls under the ICC’s jurisdiction. Later on readers are told that:

“Israel says it has deducted the cost of services provided to the Palestinian population, including electricity, water and hospital bills.

The government made the decision to restart payments two weeks ago but warned at the time that it would make deductions from the transfer.”

In line with previous reports on the same subject, the BBC fails to inform its audiences of the scale of the Palestinian Authority’s debt to Israeli bodies. As Reuters noted in its report on the same story, in February 2015 the combined debts of the Palestinian Authority and the Jerusalem District Electric Company (JDECO) to the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) stood at around $492 million. The Jerusalem Post has further details:

“The PA, as well as the Jerusalem District Electricity Company (JDECO) – the Palestinian electricity firm servicing the east Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ramallah and Jericho areas – collectively owe the IEC, NIS 1.9b, the Israeli company said. […]

Of the NIS 1.9b. owed to the IEC, about NIS 1.2b. comes from areas serviced by JDECO, while the remaining NIS 700 million is owed directly by the PA, covering areas in the Gaza Strip and the northern and southern West Bank, the IEC spokeswoman said.

The NIS 1.2b. debt comes only from areas within the PA and not from east Jerusalem, JDECO’s CEO, Hisham Omari, said. […]

With the bulk of the Palestinian debt hailing from JDECO regions, however, Omari attributed the ongoing financial crisis to three main problems.

The first, he said, is the failure of the PA to take enforcement measures against those who steal electricity from the JDECO grid.

“Up until this moment, we have not seen any progress from the PA to punish people who are stealing electricity, even though they [passed] a law,” Omari told The Jerusalem Post.

“Till this moment, there wasn’t any implementation.”

The second problem, according to Omari, is the fact that many Palestinian government offices do not properly pay their JDECO electricity bills.

The third problem he identified is the grave situation impacting the 12 refugee camps within his jurisdiction, in which residents fail to pay for their electricity at all.”

The BBC’s failure to report on that last topic has been noted here previously.

In addition to its debt to the IEC, the Palestinian Authority has also incurred significant debts to the Israeli water company Mekorot (16.7 million shekels as of May 2014) and to Israeli hospitals in which Palestinians have been given medical treatment (34 million shekels as of May 2014).

So, whilst the BBC devotes an entire article to the amplification of Mahmoud Abbas’ amateur dramatics, it once again refrains from making any effort to inform its audiences of the background to the latest installment of this long-running story.

Advertisements

15 comments on “BBC again avoids informing audiences about PA debt to Israel

  1. A new variation on “Israel says”:

    “Mr Abbas says he returned the money because Israel deducted a third to pay for what it called utility bills.”

    So what does the BBC or “Mr Abbas” call bills for gas, electricity, water and fuel provided by Israeli utility companies?

    • Sick that Israel, who get much water from the Mountain aquifer under Palestinian land use more of that water for itself and it’s settlers than the Palestinians do. They even sell Palestinian water back to the rightful owners, the Palestinians.

      • Except that they don’t get any of that water. Too bad that you are mindless moron without a single fact to back up your stupidity.

        The ‘Palestinians’ are not the rightful owners of anything. They are the illegal colonists that are occupying Israeli lands.

        Simple challenge for you – bet you cannot show us were they have a single legal claim to any of the land.

        • In 2014 approximately 86% of water extracted from the Mountain Aquifer goes to Israel and settlements, and the other 14% to Palestinians (although some of the water that Israel extracts is sold to Palestinians via Mekorot Water Company).

          Are you saying that this does not happen now and Israel takes none of this water?

  2. “Up until this moment, we have not seen any progress from the PA to punish people who are stealing electricity, even though they [passed] a law,” Omari told The Jerusalem Post.
    ——
    In the West Bank and Gaza, areas where Israeli control stifles any decent economy it is to be expected that anyone who wishes to warm theur family will get that warmth in any way possible. Israel has a gisgusting lack of concern for a people who’s care , because they are occupied, is the responsibility of the occupying military state, Israel.

    • The Arabs can end their illegal colonies on Israeli land at any time. They are a lot like the British – thieving liars occupying land that doesn’t belong to them and then getting self-righteous about their theft.

      • But it’s not Israeli land … that’s why they sieze it by declaring areas of it as ‘state land’ for military purposes. I’m sickened by the constant lack of decency and empathy that the ‘Jewish state’ and it’s supporters have. A vile folk!

        • But it’s not Palestian land … that’s why they sieze it by declaring areas of it as ‘Palestinian land’ for military purposes. I’m sickened by the constant lack of decency and empathy that the ‘Jewish state’ and it’s supporters have. A vile folk!

          • I hit the Post button by mistake. I wanted to substitute ‘Jewish state’ for ‘Palestine’.

            The really vile people are the Jew hating trolls infesting this blog recently who are only interested in demonising Israel.

        • “I’m sickened by the constant lack of decency and empathy that the ‘Jewish state’ and it’s supporters have.”

          Empathy?

          Injured Syrian Boy Undergoing Treatment in Israel Loves Matzah

          That’s just one of many examples of Syrians receiving treatment in Israel, not to mention the families of Hamas leaders. Israel treating, free of charge, the very people that would murder them and throw them “into the sea”. And you have the gall to speak about “empathy”!

          The really “vile folk” are you and your other Jew hating pals that see fit to come here spewing lies.

    • “Israel has a gisgusting lack of concern for a people who’s care , because they are occupied, is the responsibility of the occupying military state, Israel.”

      “Occupied”?

      Identify by name, please, the state whose sovereign lands are “occupied” by the “military state, Israel.”

Comments are closed.