Suspicion was aroused on Friday of intentional damage to electricity power lines in the West Bank, after residents in several Gush Etzion settlements had their electricity cut off for six hours overnight on New Year's Eve.
The Israel Electric Corporation claimed that the electricity line had been damaged on purpose, and the IDF is looking into the matter.
An initial investigation revealed that in a Palestinian village nearby, a wire with a stone had been thrown at a power line that provides electricity to Jewish settlements in the area. This apparently caused the power to be cut off, and repair teams that arrived on Friday morning to fix the outage realized that the blackout was not accidental.
Among the settlements cut off from Thursday night until Friday morning were Tekoa, Kfar Eldad, Nokdim and Sde Bar.
"We didn't know how we would cook for Shabbat. Families were considering whether to leave the settlement and spend Shabbat elsewhere for fear that they would stay with young children in a house with no electricity during stormy weather," said Marina Berger from Tekoa.
On Friday morning, staff repaired the damaged part of the line and electricity returned to the affected settlements. However, despite the repair, minor outages were still being reported on Friday.
"Since the morning there have been three blackouts," said Marina. "We have little girls and they're in rooms with no heating."
The Gush Etzion Regional Council responded: "The government must state categorically that harm to Jewish residents of Gush Etzion will harm the quality of life of Palestinians in the area."