Daily Israel Report

PA Protesters: 'Israel is Not Always to Blame'

Social protests are escalating within the Palestinian Authority territories with rising unemployment and no economic relief.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 9/20/2012, 11:56 AM

Anti-Fayyad placards at Ramallah protest
Anti-Fayyad placards at Ramallah protest
Flash 90

Social protests are escalating within the Palestinian Authority territories with rising unemployment and no economic relief.

Demonstrators castigating PA Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas at a protest had their microphones suddenly silenced by authorities on Wednesday during a live broadcast from Tulkarem.

The move did little to quench the rage of what is fast becoming known as the approach of the “PA Winter,” however.

"Israel is not always to blame,” the protesters shouted. “You cannot silence us.” PA Arabs have been protesting for weeks against the difficult conditions being created by the global economic crisis, much of which is little understood in the region. The Palestinian Authority has been struggling to stay out of bankruptcy; much of its budget is provided by donor nations, and of those, many have yet to fulfill their pledges this year, since their own economic situations are precarious at best.

Moreover, a significant percentage of the PA budget that could otherwise be devoted to supporting infrastructure is instead diverted to "prisoner salaries" -- that is, monthly payments to terrorists incarcerated in Israeli prisons, who have been convicted of murdering Israelis.

On Thursday, PA government workers reportedly planned to carry out a work action at 1:00 p.m. to show their anger at the rising prices and delays in receiving their salaries.

Government employees union head Bassam Zakarneh told the Ma'an news agency that a meeting is planned for Sunday to discuss further potential strike actions.

Although Wednesday's protests were aimed at Abbas, much of the anger has been directed at PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who has a background as an economist and who in the past has worked at the International Monetary Fund. Fayyad, an independent, has drawn fire for maintaining ties with Israel and the rest of the Western nations, as well as with the IMF and the World Bank.

Likewise, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine -- a Marxist Arab terrorist group -- has been busy inciting the street towards demanding Fayyad's resignation. It is also advocating for the annulment of the Oslo Accords – the 1993 document which established the foundations for the Palestinian Authority.