The Israeli government is advancing money transfers to the Palestinian Authority (PA) to help them “survive” economic struggles that have sparked numerous demonstrations in the West Bank and led to calls for ouster of Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad. Meanwhile, Fayyad has announced a variety of steps to alleviate the economic stress, but so far those efforts have not assuaged the protests, according to the Ma’an News Agency.
An Israeli press release said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had given the directive to advance 250 million shekels (roughly 63 million US dollars) to the PA from tax revenues. Per agreement between the PA and Israel, the Israelis would have eventually transferred the sum regardless, but decided to send it sooner in order to “help” the sputtering Palestinian economy.
Noting several ways Israel is trying to alleviate the financial pressure on the PA, Netanyahu then said, “Of course, there is a global reality and it is also related to the internal management of every economy, but for our part we are making efforts to help the Palestinian Authority survive this crisis. I hope that they will succeed in doing so; this is our in our common interest.”
Thus far the PA itself does not seem to be fully threatened, as other governments in Muslim countries have been over similar issues. However, the resignation of Fayyad has been put forth by protesters multiple times, including even the burning of him in effigy, according to Ma’an reports.
The Palestinian news agency reported that activists were planning additional protests on Friday, despite economic steps taken by Fayyad. Ma’an said some factions and Palestinian leaders felt the moves by Fayyad were “insufficient.”
The Palestinians have largely avoided the wide-scale protests that have rocked the Middle East and led to the collapse of multiple dictatorships in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere. However, the latest economic protests, with rising costs a key concern, have led to comparisons with the so-called Arab Spring events in other places.
The Palestinian protests have even included rock throwing this week, which Ma’an said injured “dozens” of Palestinian security forces.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, September 13, 2012)