Fayyad: Ready to Resign Over Protests
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad announced on Thursday that he would resign if that was the will of the people, the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency reported.
He also took an opportunity to blame Israel for the PA’s financial troubles.
Fayyad’s comments came as ‘Arab Spring’ protests over the rising cost of living hit the PA-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria.
Local residents have taken to the streets for three days in mass demonstrations against price rises and unemployment, calling for Fayyad's resignation. In a protest in Hevron on Tuesday, protesters burned an effigy of the premier.
On Wednesday, hundreds of protesters gathered in the main square in Shechem (Nablus), holding up signs which read, “Go away Fayyad” and “Abbas and Fayyad, your government does not represent us.” The protesters were also joined by Hamas parliamentarians.
Demonstrations also took place in Bethlehem and Ramallah.
Fayyad was quoted by Ma’an as having said in a radio interview that replacing figures in the government was not the solution to the financial crisis, but that a new economic strategy was needed.
He added he could not set a date for paying government workers their August salaries because the Palestinian Authority was waiting on donor funds to arrive.
Fayyad also said the Palestinian Authority needed to be restructured on a democratic basis to address political and economic crises.
He called on the private sector and importers to reduce their profits to lessen the economic burden on citizens. He added that the PA had been in talks with Libya and Gulf states to create job opportunities for young people.
Earlier Thursday, Ma’an reported, Fayyad met in Ramallah with his Italian counterpart Giulio Terzi, and accused Israel of hindering the PA's economic growth.
Fayyad said Israel paralyzed economic development in Area C by demolishing development projects in the area.
The PA government currently faces its worst financial crisis since its 1994 establishment. Fayyad warned several months ago that the Palestinian Authority may soon fail financially and cease to exist.
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said at a meeting of foreign ministers of the Arab League in Cairo on Wednesday that the public is right when it demands lower prices and fair wages.
“The Arab Spring began, and we support what the people say and want," said Abbas.
Earlier this week, a teenager died after setting himself ablaze in Gaza to protest economic hardship due to unemployment in the Hamas terrorist-ruled region.