West Bankers Protest Against Vat

West Bank stores shut down yesterday and continued to stay closed today in a protest against the value added tax (VAT) which went into effect yesterday in the administered territories. VAT was imposed in Israel on July 1 but was delayed on the West Bank for a month because of the opposition of local Arab businessmen.

Israeli authorities have insisted that VAT must include the West Bank because of the integrated economy between Israel and the West Bank. While West Bank Chambers of Commerce supported this idea in theory they officially opposed the new tax.

There were a few minor rock throwing incidents yesterday in Nablus, Jenin and Tulkarem. An Israeli soldier was injured in Nablus. There is no indication as to how long the strike will last. Many Arab bakeries and vegetable shops opened this morning but closed down a few hours later.

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