Following protests, Palestinians make moves to ease economic woes


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayad announced measures to ease economic hardship following stepped-up Palestinian protests in the West Bank. 

Fayad on Tuesday said the value added tax will be reduced by 2 percent to 15 percent, and he lowered prices on diesel, gas and kerosene following a meeting with ministers to discuss ways to solve the economic crisis, the Palestinian Ma’an news service reported.

Palestinian protests in the West Bank turned violent and destructive late Monday, with thousands of protesters burning tires and attacking police in the streets of Hebron and Nablus. Protesters also reportedly smashed the windows of the municipal building and a police station in Hebron.

Also in Hebron, protesters threw shoes at a life-size poster of Fayad. Throwing shoes is a sign of disrespect in the Arab world.

Palestinian taxi, truck and bus drivers also staged a one-day strike on Monday. 

Civil servants did not receive paychecks for the month of August. Fayad said they would receive half of their salaries Wednesday and the rest by the end of the week.

Israeli officials are concerned that the unrest over economics and frustration with the Palestinian leadership could turn into a third Intifada directed at Israel, Reuters reported. 

Recommended from JTA