Palestinian youth have taken to the streets of Ramallah and across the West Bank, to protest rising prices. They carried signs and shouted slogans against the government of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
AFP reports protesters blocked the main roads leading into the West Bank capital. And the Jerusalem Post says the protesters carried banners that read: “No to Starvation” and “No to the Government of Disgrace.”
In Hebron, protesters burned effigies of Prime Minister Fayyad and shouted slogans denouncing his government. That followed an earlier sit-in by dozens of truck, taxi and tractor drivers in the center of Hebron, protesting rising fuel prices. The Palestinian Authority is now looking into the possibility of importing gasoline from other Arab countries to ease a shortage and reduce prices. Currently the PA gets its petrol from Israel, but rising prices there are passed on to the Palestinian Territories as well.
In the Dehaishe refugee camp, hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets demanding the Palestinian Authority government take action to resolve the worsening economic crisis.
Palestinian Authority government workers have only been receiving half their salaries in recent months because of an ongoing debt crisis. AFP quotes government Ministers saying it is currently the worst financial crisis since its formation in 1994. In an effort to ease tensions, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has announced that public employees would be paid their full August salaries, later this week.
Israel tried to borrow $100 millon from the International Monetary Fund in early July to prevent the Palestinian government's financial collapse. It was rejected because the IMF says one state can't receive a loan for a non-state.
The economic situation is causing some people to take drastic action. Digital Journal reported this week that a young man died, four days after setting himself on fire in Gaza City, to protest his family's poor living conditions and because he hadn't been able to find a job. The Hamas government met with the man's family and gave them $2000 in emergency aid as well as social welfare benefits. It also ordered that the young man's brother be given a government job.
Another man, upset over not being given money from the Palestinian Authority to visit his sick daughter in Jordan, poured gasoline on himself at one of the protest rallies in Hebron, but was stopped from setting himself on fire by other demonstrators.