Palestinians protest in Ramallah 370.
(photo credit: Michael Omer-Man)
Palestinian youth groups in the West Bank are planning a series of street
demonstrations over the next few days to protest price increases for basic goods
Some of the groups are demanding the resignation of Palestinian
Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, saying his government is responsible for
the price hikes.
On Monday, dozens of cab drivers staged a protest in the
center of Ramallah, calling on the PA to intervene to stop increases in the
price of fuel.
Scores of residents called for demonstrations in other
West Bank cities. The protesters announced that they would block the streets
leading to PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s Mukata compound on Tuesday.
Facebook group called “Palestinian Youth Against Price Increases” called for
sit-in strikes in Nablus, Hebron and Bethlehem on Tuesday and
Palestinian journalists in the West Bank have also joined the
Romal al-Swaiti, a journalist from Hawarrah, a village outside
Nablus, announced he would ride a donkey to work to save the cost of
transportation. He invited photographers to document his daily 8-kilometer
journey, adding that he would also use the donkey for transportation inside
Swaiti said the decision to replace his car with a donkey was
aimed at sending a message to Palestinians, that they should not remain idle in
the face of recent price increases.
He purchased the donkey for 100
Jordanian dinars, approximately NIS 500.
Another journalist, Mohamed Abed
Rabbo, said the West Bank was on the verge of “explosion.”
jokingly: “Perhaps it’s time to start thinking of importing donkeys because soon
there will be a huge demand for them in light of the deteriorating
Meanwhile in Gaza, a young man died after setting himself on
fire, apparently in protest at economic hardship in the Palestinian enclave, the
man’s family and police said on Monday.
Ehab Abu Nada, 18, left his home
on Thursday after an argument with his father, who had urged him to find work to
help feed his poor family.
Frustrated in his job hunt, Abu Nada doused
himself in gasoline and set himself alight inside Gaza’s main Shifa
Neighbors suggested he might have chosen to immolate himself at
the hospital because he had wanted to make a gesture rather than kill himself,
but medics there could not save him. Abu Nada was pronounced dead on
“He left to seek work and he did not come back. My heart was
shattered,” his weeping father told a local radio station. “We live in miserable
conditions,” he added.
“We live in a rented house and I hardly can afford
A Hamas police official said an investigation was under way
into the young man’s death, citing unemployment as his possible
Abu Nada’s suicide is another sign of frustration over the lack
of work in the coastal territory, where a Gaza man set himself ablaze last year
in despair, but survived.
Two suicides-by-fire in Israel this year – and
several more attempts – have coincided with lingering social justice protests.
But few Gazans anticipate any broad unrest as a result of the case in the
desperately poor but heavilypoliced Strip, which has endured an Israeli economic
blockade for years.
A United Nations report published last week said
poverty stood at 40 percent among Gaza’s 1.6 million people, of whom 80%
depended on outside aid. It said nearly 30% were jobless.
It is unclear
how Abu Nada’s death would affect Hamas’s policies.
Many Gaza and West
Bank residents blame the political division between Hamas and Fatah for tearing
apart Palestinians’ social fabric, dimming hopes for statehood and hamstringing