Published — Tuesday 1 January 2013
Last update 1 January 2013 3:58 am
NABLUS: Nearly 300 Palestinians staged a demonstration in the northern West Bank town of Nablus yesterday, protesting against the economic situation and against Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayad.
An AFP correspondent said the protest came after Fayad on Sunday announced that the Palestinian Authority would as of 2013 enforce the payment of electricity bills by refugee camp residents, who have so far not had to pay them.
The demonstrators chanted slogans accusing Fayad of “starving” them, the correspondent said, and one protester tried to set himself on fire.
The government of the West Bank has been mired for months in financial crisis. Earlier this month Palestinian government employees across the West Bank went on strike over unpaid salaries.
The crisis has been aggravated by Israel’s decision to halt the transfer of tax and tariff revenues as punishment after the Palestinians gained upgraded status at the United Nations.
The Arab League has promised the Palestinians a fiscal “safety net” of $ 100 million, and Palestinians had hoped to receive it during a visit by League chief Nabil Elaraby to Ramallah on Saturday. Elaraby did not provide the money, but did discuss the issue in a meeting with president Mahmoud Abbas.