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Strikes paralyze West Bank
Published Tuesday 23/10/2012 (updated) 25/10/2012 20:11
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RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority cabinet on Tuesday called on civil servants to go back to work as strikes in ministries, universities, schools and refugee camps paralyzed the West Bank.

The cabinet in its weekly meeting said employees who continued to strike would be "held liable."

Palestinian Authority employees, including public university staff and school teachers, suspended work Tuesday over the late and incomplete payment of their salaries.

On Thursday, the Palestinian Authority finance ministry announced it was distributing partial September salaries after repeatedly delaying payment to employees and capping payments to high earners.

Ministers in Ramallah urged unions to "continue the dialogue" and said that while the government understood unions' needs, the financial crisis and challenges facing the PA provided "limited possibilities."

The cabinet urged donor countries, especially Arab countries, to keep providing support to the Palestinian people.

University staff are also embroiled in an ongoing dispute with the Ministry of Education over employee benefits and demands to abolish taxes on end-of-service pay.

Amjad Barham, head of the union for university staff, said the union would call a general strike if the ministry continued its "policy of procrastination and intransigence."

UNRWA staff on strike

Employees of UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, also went on strike Tuesday to protest cuts in the agency's services and the dismissal of 130 workers

UNRWA health clinics, schools and offices were closed and shops shut their doors for two hours.

Ahmad Abu Khayran, who chairs a popular committee in Hebron's al-Fawwar refugee camp, said UNRWA's austerity measures were making life harder for refugees who were already suffering from the economic crisis.

Abu Khayran told Ma'an that UNRWA was trying to "shirk its responsibilities" to refugees and treating them as Europeans or Americans, forcing them to pay 25 to 40 percent of their medical costs.

He said UNRWA should reduce the wages of its foreign staff instead of increasing medical expenses for refugees, as well as pressuring donor nations to meet their obligations.

UNRWA criticized the strike, which it said had prevented 51,000 from attending school. The agency said it remained committed to meeting the needs of refugees, but a 50 percent drop in funding since 2010 had forced the agency to "re-prioritize" its emergency services.

Basic services -- including schools, primary health clinics and food aid -- are not affected by the restructuring, the UN agency said in a statement.

UNRWA said it would continue working to secure resources to maintain its emergency services, which depend on donor response to its emergency appeal.
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1 ) Tibi / Tubas
23/10/2012 16:14
It is NOT the New strikes that paralyze West Bank, but the Palestinian Authorities lack of progress, on both creating an economy & a state !!

2 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
23/10/2012 16:43
Is there any more reason to doubt how prosperous the Palestinians would be if they all moved EAST to Jordan/Palestine, THE Palestinian nation, and ALL Palestinians were united and working together for their own welfare and happiness instead of crapping around with all these damn problems ??? ... So how much longer--it's only been over 60 years now--will the U.N. and the damn refugee camps still be around ??? ... What about 60 years from now ... Are they still going to be there ??? ... Insanity.

3 ) Tobias / USA
23/10/2012 19:28
Don't blames the strikers for what the West Bank government caused,
with their inept attempts at creating an economy or state, and
Don't blames Israeli airstrikes for what the Gaza government causes,
with their continued inept attempts at destroying the state of Israel !!

4 ) Cort Greene / USA
23/10/2012 19:30
The workers in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel should turn on their capitalist oppressors unite against the Zionists, Hamas or Fatah and create a socialist federation to become part of a socialist Middle East.

5 ) @ Yehuda-2 / USA
23/10/2012 19:32
Palestinians would also be prosperous in Syria (also a part of the once
Roman province of "Palestine"), so maybe when Assad's regime falls,
Israel should rush to fill the power void, like other groups (Kurds, etc.)
are planning, and relocate the Palestinians there.


6 ) Nour / 1-State
24/10/2012 09:31
The PA and PLO in its present form are a colossal failure, for failing to manage Palestinian affairs since the early 1990's, with special note on the disastrous Oslo Accords which handed 95% of historical Palestine to the Zionists on a silver platter. It's high time Palestinians both in Palestine and diaspora demand universal elections for the Palestine National Council and demand accountability from these crooks. Both Fatah and Hamas are popularly rejected now.

7 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
24/10/2012 17:03
@ 4), No, we have no right nor reason to fill any power void if it happens. The Syrian Ishmaelites (Arabs) will have to settle this horrible situation without help/intervention from the Israelites. Any Kurds there, like any Palestinian Ishmaelites there, should get the hell out and go to their own nations (in the Palestinian Ishmaelites' case, that means Jordan/Palestine). The Kurds basically already have their own "nation" (Kurdistan) all but in name. We can/should offer humanitarian aid.

8 ) Toolless / Pal
27/10/2012 09:38
Dear Tibi. How can Pals produce without the tools.Economy is blocked and the statehood is blocked.
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