infrastructure ministry – shows the Palestinian Authority who’s the boss.
By Zvi Bar’el | Feb. 25, 2015

There is no closure on the West Bank: Citizens can go out in the streets, travel, spend time in Ramallah’s discotheques and renovate their homes. Paradise.

But just so they won’t forget where they came from, and where they’re going, Israel reminds them that their ship of fools is no more than a corpse tossed to the side of the road, with every passerby permitted to kick it or spit on it.

Two days ago, Israel Electric Corp. cut off the current to Jenin and Nablus. But for just 45 minutes. A humane gesture by a creditor that only wanted to hint to the Palestinian Authority what will happen if it doesn’t pay 49 million shekels ($12.4 million), the amount of the most recent invoice, and doesn’t take care of the cumulative debt, almost 2 billion shekels.

The Sopranos would probably ridicule this soft-hearted attitude, treating debtors with kid gloves. If you want to cut off the electricity, do so – don’t talk, as Tuco the Ugly would suggest.

We really have to thank this corporation, which knows exactly how to strangle the Israeli economy, for making do with three quarters of an hour, which caused the residents of Nablus and Jenin to lose their electrical confidence.

Israel gave a different gift to the residents of Ramallah, about whom we have already written here.

The city of Rawabi was built magnificently. It’s missing only one thing – water – because the neighborhood bully is demanding that the joint Israeli-Palestinian water committee convene and approve the project, or it won’t open the tap.

The committee hasn’t met for years because the Palestinians don’t want to approve settlement projects. But has anyone heard about a water shortage in the settlements because the committee didn’t convene?

Suddenly Israel has become a law-abiding country that zealously adheres to agreements that it helped destroy with its own hands. Who can guess when it will decide to abide by agreements and when it will violate them?

After all, in January Israel once again violated the agreements it signed when it decided to freeze the transfer of the tax money it collects for the Palestinians. Half a billion Palestinian shekels are lying in an Israeli safe awaiting the moment when the PA’s tongue turns blue from suffocation.

For the past two months about 180,000 officials and members of the security services, the ones who are supposed to implement the defense coordination with Israel, have been receiving partial salaries.

That will be their lot in March too, since during an election season Israel doesn’t pay debts and doesn’t do favors for the Palestinians.

We will only mention that this illegal decision is nothing more than revenge for the fact that the PA decided to join the Rome Statute and the International Criminal Court.

What a mistake. Once again the PA forgets which guys are running the neighborhood, and it has to pay dearly for that. It’s a shame that the PA doesn’t devote more time to watching popular crime series.

The battered PA finally understands that even those whom it considered its good friends are afraid to start up with the gang.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry issued his usual warning, to the effect that the PA will collapse if Israel doesn’t transfer the tax money. The European Union, one of the cornerstones of the Quartet, whose job it is to supervise observance of the agreements, nods its head in sorrow. And the voice of the Zionist Union, the hope of the political bonfire of the vanities, froze in the cold.

Because what can really be done when the IEC, the Israel Customs Authority and the minister of national infrastructure have become a substitute government? They are the ones who decide policy, they implement it and they won’t pay the price.

This way another layer of the occupation system is developing: occupation from a distance. Lock the Customs safe containing the tax money, turn off the switch at the IEC, don’t open the tap. Nobody’s hands get dirty, there are no casualties, fear of the occupier is maintained and there’s more to come.