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President says Palestinian Spring has begun
Published Wednesday 05/09/2012 (updated) 07/09/2012 14:21
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Protesters stand near burning tires during a protest against the high
cost of living in Nablus on Sept. 5. (Reuters/Abed Omar Qusini)
CAIRO (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday that the "Palestinian Spring" had begun, as Palestinians took to the streets across the West Bank in protest over rising prices.

"The Palestinian spring has begun, and we are in line with what the people say and what they want," Abbas said, addressing a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo.

The president said the protesters' demands to reduce costs of basic goods and for regular payment of salaries were "right and fair."

"Hunger is disloyal," Abbas said, quoting a Palestinian proverb reflecting that hungry people thought only of their need for food. "We are trying to do what we can do to reduce prices."

'Enough is enough'

Hundreds of protesters marched on Nablus' city center on Wednesday calling for the resignation of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, as young men torched tires in the street.

They demanded a reduction in prices of basic commodities along with "real" support to help Palestinians "stay firmly rooted in their lands."

Security services did not intervene in the demonstration, but firefighters extinguished a blaze caused by burning tires which caused the temporary closure of the road to the National Hospital.

"We are here to say to the government enough is enough … We want a government which lives just as its people live eating what the people eat," Khalid, a protester, told Ma'an.

Meanwhile, at a protest in Ramallah's central square a man tried to set himself and his daughter on fire. Bystanders managed to stop him and he was detained by police.

Hasan Qahwaji, in his 30s and originally from Gaza, tried to set fire to himself because he couldn't afford to pay for his daughter's cancer treatment, locals said. Abbas' office insisted Qahwaji had received significant financial support from the office's humanitarian department and several other sources.

The incident occurred a day after Khaled Abu Rabee, 42, doused himself in gasoline in Hebron. A security guard at the municipality building prevented him from setting the petrol alight. Abu Rabee, from al-Fawwar refugee camp, was struggling to make enough money to support two wives and feed his children.

Thousands demonstrated from Hebron to Jenin on Tuesday, calling on the Palestinian Authority to abolish the Paris Protocol with Israel, which they said rendered the Palestinian economy subordinate to Israel.

In Hebron, demonstrators set fire to an effigy of Fayyad. They chanted slogans calling to topple Fayyad's government and put an end to the skyrocketing prices.

In Ramallah, protesters shouted: "Fayyad! We are not egg-laying chickens," "I can’t fuel my car, so Fayyad can take it," "No to the government of indignity and hunger," "Until when will we continue to pay your expenses?," "We will not set ourselves ablaze for the sake of Fayyad" and "We were looking for Palestine, but now we are looking for a sack of flour."

Unions join protests

The federation of public transportation suspended services for 30 minutes across West Bank districts on Wednesday in protest over spiraling fuel prices as school children demonstrated near Bethlehem urging the PA and Fayyad to find a solution to rising prices.

The union of Palestinian universities warned Wednesday that all universities would join protests against high prices and deteriorating economic conditions next week.

The general secretariat of the union of Palestinian teachers also announced strike action. It said classes would be suspended Thursday after the fourth lesson, and staff at the Ministry of Education’s offices will go on strike at 1 p.m.

Fayyad said Wednesday that the Palestinian Authority had exerted and would continue to exert huge efforts to improve living conditions, and to cope with all difficulties as they emerged despite the serious financial crisis.

The Minister of National Economy Jawad Naji added that the PA would implement a series of measures to ease citizens' suffering and to contain the economic crisis. He said the fiscal crisis in Palestine stemmed from the global economic downturn.

After a day of protests on Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority cabinet asked a special economic committee to study a government memo prepared by the Ministry of National Economy about the rising cost of living in the occupied territories.

The committee was instructed to recommend measures to cope with the economic situation within two days.
1 ) Mel / USA
05/09/2012 22:20
Bu**sh*t,Abbas! What U mean is,U & ur pro-Zionist thugs have squeezed all the life,patience,hope out of millions of fellow Palestinians(most of whom are under 30yrs &UNEMPLOYED),to the point where they CAN'T TAKE ANY MORE squeezing&humiliation! 'Palestinian Spring'cr*p? U've helped push your people into a hole & possibly a 3rd Intifada?Maybe you're HOPING the Pals will explode again,letting Israel BOMB Gazans again(divert from"peace process")?PAL Spring? More like an Arab TSUNAMI,coming!?

2 ) Ijiebor monday / Nigeria
05/09/2012 22:48
Palestina people should learn 2 live in peace wit Israel so as 4 Israel to lift naval blockage on Gaza. This wi go a long way 2 reduce poverty in palestine. Assad should also step down to avoid palestina in Syria coming back home.

3 ) Crazy Man! / UK
05/09/2012 22:48
Yes it has begun! Now push off to Saudi Arabia along with your gang and join Ben Ali while you're at it!

4 ) Nour / 1-STATE
05/09/2012 22:59
The Palestinian Spring will start when Palestinians decide they have had enough of the evil Occupation, Zionist Apartheid control over their lives and lands, and the puppet PA. Not a minute earlier, Mr. Abbas.

5 ) Amiria / Canada
06/09/2012 01:14
"The Palestinian spring has begun, and we are in line with what the people say and what they want," Abbas said. Is this blindness or arrogance?

The so-called Palestinian spring should be about demanding the replacement of Abbas with the Gaza legitimate government that will not submit and be used by US-Israel.

With all the begging and negotiating and submission, Abbas cannot help Palestinian to have basic foods at decent prices.

6 ) Julie / USA
06/09/2012 01:23
Jawad Naji "said the fiscal crisis in Palestine stemmed from the global economic downturn." wow! as if the criminal zionazi occupation HAS NO EFFECT???????? what kind of caveman mentality is that? do you walk upright Naji??? his words totally betray every single Palestinian past, present & future, not to mention hwo it freely welcomes and gives izrahell a green light to continue their inhuman crimes against Pals. Naji is a TRAITOR!!!

7 ) Khaled / Palestine
06/09/2012 02:39
How easy is to post from Canada and the US about Palestinian politics, as if our revolution began when a group of Islamists decided to run for elections. Come to Palestine and see the reality with your own eyes. Especially if you go to Gaza and look at the personal freedoms that Hamas keeps denying to our people.

8 ) Charlie / USA
06/09/2012 03:19
Yes the Palestinian spring has begun Mr. Abbas and its going to lead to a cruel and cold winter for you and your cronie thugs who have milked the Palestinians for everything they have. You cowardly thug. May humiliation come to you and your Israeli masters.

9 ) Abe / Palestine
06/09/2012 03:31
The money mahmoud abbas, the plo, the pa have stolen could have fed millions of Palestinians for many many years. Look at the mantions they built and the millions they lined their pockets with. Now Abbas says the people are right. Why did he destroy them when they did not support him. Why did he fire over 400 teachers that did not adopt his corrupt way of thinking. Finally, the Arab spring has sprung in Palestine. Palestinians must clean up the garbage, the PA and the PLO

10 ) xavier abu rish / saida
06/09/2012 04:26
who is abbas fooling?does he not know they are demonstrating against him.why is his thugs attacking the demonstrators last months.attacking protest organisations.get rid off abbas - for heavens sake!!!

11 ) Colin Wright / USA
06/09/2012 04:37
'Abbas: Palestinian Spring has begun.' He may well be right. The difficulty is that's he's Palestine's Mubarak.

12 ) Reader / from Edmonton
06/09/2012 08:21
Be careful what you wish. You may have noticed that others who thought they spoke for their people have been toppled. And you most certainly have limited coin in Palestine.

06/09/2012 08:49

14 ) Avi Deul / Israel
06/09/2012 10:46
Dear Palestinians,
Time to end our conflict and to make Palestinian-Israeli true peace agreement. Our daily life can be much better with budgets dedicated on economic growth and not on security or weopons. Yalla, let do it. Let us live in peace. True peace.

15 ) Rami / Palestine
06/09/2012 12:09
No one in the UK, USA, Canada or Nigeria should tell us about what the so-called "Palestinian Spring" should or should not be about or what we, the people, should or shouldn't do. You're not living here, you're not a Palestinian. You don't know what our lives are like, so shut up.

16 ) Dweikat / Palestine
06/09/2012 13:55
Nour, again blabla
Amira, keep playing in the snow in Canada en don't talk about Palestine.
Gaza is not the legitimate government as the President at that time resolved it. Also the fact that there period has expired, also the fact that they are the puppets of the Iranians, if you want to tell a story tell the whole story and not what you prevere
Financial crisis is not the fault of the government its the fault of the donors. In the past people ate oil and za3tar, know they only want meat...

17 ) Mel / Gaza
06/09/2012 14:12
@#2. It's not that easy Israel WILL NOT lift the naval siege with or without peace. You see there are huge gas fields just infront of us! Israell is basically stealing the gas to make a profit! Do you really think they'd give that up??? PEACE is a big word and it works 2 ways. How can you live with someone in peace who is taking everything you have from you??? Imagine your neighbour is taking first your front garden, then you back garden, then puts you in a tent and takes your house...

18 ) Mel / Gaza
06/09/2012 14:18
... then puts a fence around your tent and controls movements, what you eat, what you wear etc. Would you be able to "learn to live in peace" with that person??? What you hear in the media about "Palestinians should stop the violence GAIN peace" is a big lie! Israel wants all of Palestine and is working hard towards this goal every single day!!!

19 ) Tibi / Tubas
06/09/2012 15:12
Yes, the "President says a Palestinian Spring has begun", but
- HE CAN DO NOTHING ABOUT IT, particularly since
subsidizing costs to reduce prices of basic goods would be a huge,
relative to paying government salaries, which his government
already can NOT afford !!!

20 ) #14 Joseph / Palestine
06/09/2012 16:35
There's no chance for peace if Lieberman is still in power nor Netnyahoo.

21 ) WAS / UK
06/09/2012 17:00
I just can't stop laughing at the likes of Rami & Khaled here. Are you angry because we don't like Abbas or his PA? Well I've got news for you, So don't the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip who'd lynch Abbas if given the opportunity. These goons who run the PA are the same goons who betrayed Arafat for the sake of power. "No one in the UK, USA, Canada or Nigeria should tell us about what the so-called "Palestinian Spring" What was that "So called" Speaks volumes off you my dear!

22 ) No-Nour / No-State
06/09/2012 18:15
Abbas as usually wrong - palestinian autumn has begun. And winter comes usually after autumn.

23 ) Mel / Gaza
06/09/2012 19:27
@Khaled. Are you in Gaza? It is Israel that is denying us freedom!

24 ) Mel / Gaza
06/09/2012 19:32
@#14. We'd love peace! But you know right now we are from it? How can we live in peace when you are taking everything we have from us. Everyday you read in your own newspapers how that village has been erased, how that family has been moved out so settlers can move in, how this farmer is prevented from reaching his land, how that fisherman is not allowed to fish... the list is endless!!! Tell me HOW can we live in peace?

25 ) Robert Haymond / Israel/Gush Etzion
07/09/2012 14:40
Will be difficult to change the lives and legitimate aspirations of Westbank Arabs with Abbas and cronies in power. A former partner of his (Abbas) now residing in the USA (Khalidi) says that Abbas is worth about 25 million and his two sons are edging up as well. One of them actually contracted tobuild the (infamous) Wall protecting Israeli citizens. Rather cynical of Abbas family members, isn't it. No "Palestinian spring" as long as the much revered Arab corruption machines remain in power.

26 ) Filipe / Portugal
07/09/2012 21:23
Mel----- you seem to be a very conflicted person. How much time to spend in the US and how much time in Palestine? Do you consider yourself to be Palestinian or American? Where do you reside today? You're too funny !!!

27 ) Kishana / USA
09/09/2012 22:59
This goes out to Kahled. Yes, I live in America but not all Americans consider our government's stand with Israel as the right thing to do. Standing with a regime that denys an individual the right to liberty, freedom and justice goes against American values. It seems that our government has been hijacked by anti-Islamic politicians who have been bought by the Israeli special interest groups. I sympathise with your struggle. My school just started the John Jay Students for Justice in Palesti
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