Israel’s electricity utility unit of EDF, Israel’s largest, is set to pay a $1.1 billion bill to the government of Israel for electricity generated at its facilities in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem.
The electricity is generated from two of Israel’s biggest coal-fired power plants and is sold to power consumers in the territories.
EDF said it had submitted a request to the Ministry of the Interior and Finance to reimburse the government for the bill, the largest electricity tariff ever passed by Israel.
The utility said the payment was due to a combination of factors, including its commitment to the Palestinians’ security and the fact that the utility was not subject to the same taxation and tariffs as other Israeli electricity companies.
EDA, the Israeli subsidiary of Eiffel-Gesellschaft, also signed a deal to buy electricity from Israeli utilities in the West Bank last year.
The deal included a new 10-year contract to buy power from Israeli utility companies.
The ministry said the government had approved the contract.
The new deal is part of an effort to diversify the electricity sector in the Israeli economy and also comes after a new deal between the government and utility companies in February that will allow Israeli electricity consumers to switch to renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, at a discount.
“This is an important step to bring an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, which has been in place for decades,” EDA CEO Oded Gilad told reporters in a statement.
The move to cancel the previous agreement came after a petition by the Palestinian environmental group Ma’an called on the government to cancel EDA’s deal with EDF.
EID said it did not want to cancel its contract with the Palestinian Authority, which it considers a “colonial entity” under international law.
It said it would work with the government, but it was still unsure if it would be able to get the contract renegotiated.
“We remain committed to the two-state solution, which we will implement if it is possible,” Gilad said.
The Israeli utility also said the current contract would have been terminated in 2019, after the current government failed to reach a deal with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party on the future of the West Jerusalem enclave, which Israel captured in 1967.
Palestinians in the Palestinian areas of East Jerusalem and the West al-Quds and West Bank have long demanded a return to the pre-1967 borders.
The two areas were captured by Israel in a 1967 war that ended with a bloody withdrawal of Israeli forces.
The latest bid to resolve the conflict in Jerusalem comes after the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, announced in January that his party would hold a referendum on the status of Jerusalem.
That vote, which would determine the future status of the city, was not expected to be held until at least 2021.