World News

Palestinians plug Jericho into Jordan's power grid

RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - The West Bank town of Jericho was connected to the Jordanian power grid on Monday in a move a Palestinian official said was meant to reduce dependence on Israeli electricity supplies.

A Palestinian official responsible for the project said the connection cost $10 million and means the ancient town of Jericho and its surroundings no longer depend on Israeli electricity.

“The aim of this step is to reduce our consumption of Israeli electricity and hook up with the Arab network,” said Omar Kittaneh, head of the Palestinian Energy Authority.

Kittaneh said the Palestinian Authority was buying 20 megawatts of power from Jordan and that the hope was to add other West Bank towns to the grid later.

He said Jordan was part of the Arab electricity grid that also included Egypt, Syria and Turkey.

The Palestinians have very limited generating capacity and buy most of their power for the West Bank and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip from Israel.

Earlier this month Israel reduced power supplies to the Gaza Strip as part of a campaign it said was aimed at curbing militant cross-border rocket attacks on its southern towns.

Israel said its goal in reducing the electricity supply was to disconnect gradually from the coastal enclave, which Hamas Islamists seized in June after routing secular Fatah forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Reporting by Mohammed Assadi; Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Ibon Villelabeitia