In protests throughout the West Bank and Gaza over the weekend, thousands of Palestinians took to the streets to protest the economic conditions and call for an annulment of the Paris Agreement, part of the 1993 Oslo Accords that allows Israel to control the Palestinian economy. The Palestinian Authority on Sunday formally requested a revision to the Paris Agreement.In Tulkarem Saturday, protesters burned tires and blocked the main road, and several streets in Ramallah were blocked by protesters. Hundreds of protesters in Bethlehem shouted angry slogans calling on Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to resign due to his perceived corruption and profiting off of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
On Sunday, taxi and truck drivers held an organized protest blockading a main highway from Bethlehem to Hebron to protest the high price of fuel, which has made their work near impossible.
Also Sunday, Salam Fayyad said that he would not be opposed to resigning his post “if that would lead to solving the problem.”
Some protesters tried to deface or burn Palestinian Authority buildings, which they perceive to be acting on the behest of Israeli authorities and not representing the Palestinian people’s self interest. But they were stopped by fellow protesters, who called for no property destruction.
The protests have escalated since an unemployed Palestinian worker in Gaza self-immolated last Sunday to protest the poor economy.
According to the Alternative Information Center in Bethlehem, “Sunday demonstrators in Ramallah further demanded that representatives in the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, the recognized representative of the Palestinian people, take their roles and responsibilities seriously. This is a clear political demand arising from the economic situation.”
Many Palestinians have become fed up with the Palestinian Authority, which is a government under occupation and therefore subservient to the Israeli military authorities, who have final say on any action taken by the Palestinian Authority.
In addition, they are calling for an end of Israeli control over Palestinian imports and exports, international business relations, and customs and excise taxes. These taxes, which are imposed by Israeli authorities on all goods imported into the West Bank and Gaza, are then supposed to be distributed to the Palestinians through the Palestinian Authority. But many times over the last twenty years, the Israeli government has decided to withhold this tax money for political reasons, when it has disagreed with the way the Palestinian Authority has governed the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
More protests are planned for the coming week.