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Public sector union announces strikes across West Bank
Published Monday 17/12/2012 (updated) 19/12/2012 18:52
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RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority civil servants union on Monday accused Israel of collective punishment for withholding Palestinian tax revenues and announced strike action over non-payment of salaries.

Union chief Bassam Zakarneh said government employees would strike from noon Tuesday until the end of the week.Civil servants have not received November salaries and cannot afford transport to get to work, Zakarneh added.

At noon Tuesday, public sector staff will protest at ministries and government headquarters across the West Bank, Zakarneh said after a meeting between union leaders and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Zakarneh said Israel's decision to withhold around $100 million a month in duties it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority had put over a million Palestinians under the poverty line.

Israel says it will not transfer the PA's money until March at the earliest in protest at President Mahmoud Abbas' successful bid to upgrade Palestine's status at the UN.

Zakarneh condemned the silence of the international community over Israel's "theft" of Palestinian revenue and called on Arab countries to provide the financial security net pledged by the Arab League.

He also called on the government to try and pay employees, and urged electricity and phone companies not to cut services if public sector workers are late in paying bills.
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1 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
17/12/2012 21:16
I have strongly sent word to our government to pay the Palestinians their tax revenues. As I've posted before and elsewhere, it is very STUPID of us to withhold THEIR money, just as we did on previous times. It IS a form of theft and, as before, will backfire on us like hell the longer this goes on. We must not punish them for their U.N. upgrade; we don't recognize, never will, and it's of no consequence to us. We need to work with the Palestinians on recovery of any debts for (cont.)

2 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
17/12/2012 21:24
electricity payments. We set up their power distribution arrangements in the 1st place and it's really up to US to collect electricity bill payments, NOT the PA. Nothing is going to change between now and 3 months from now and the inflows of any promised aid to the Palestinians from donor nations is completely beside our responsibility to give them their taxes. The longer this insane punishment goes on the far worse it will be for the Palestinians than for us. Netanyahu is crazy doing this.

3 ) Palestinian West Bank citizen / oPt
18/12/2012 00:57
I don't understand Palestinian teachers' and public servants' strike that will harm their own children's education and their families' needs! Now is the time when you must stick with your own people at whatever cost. Think of more creative ways to resist Israeli occupation, for heavens' sake! It takes a lot more to starve!!!

4 ) Mark of Lewiston / USA
18/12/2012 08:43
Only when Palestinian civil services affect the Israeli government will it affect the situation. As long as security services still answer the phone when Israel calls and kids are still in schools instead of on the street, Israel will divert or keep tax revenues. Israel does this because it can and nobody can or would stop them except Israelis. As long as Israelis are not affected nothing will happen.
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