Palestinian Authority cuts top pay to quell protests
THE PALESTINIAN Authority (PA) has decided to cut fuel prices and reduce the salaries of top officials in an effort to quell West Bank protests against the high cost of living.
More than 60 people were hurt on Monday when demonstrators clashed with PA security forces in Hebron, Nablus and other West Bank locations. Yesterday, civil servants, who have only received part of their monthly salaries because of the cash shortage, observed a partial strike. Protests continued, although on a smaller scale than on Monday.
Prime minister Salam Fayyad, held by many of the protesters as the man responsible for the economic crisis, announced a series of measures following a cabinet meeting to address the crisis.
VAT on fuel and cooking gas will be cut to 15 per cent, sales tax will be reduced and salaries of top officials will be slashed.
“We will not commit to any new ministerial expenses for travel, rent, transportation or fuel until we get through this financial crisis,” Mr Fayyad said.
He promised government workers would be paid part of their overdue August salaries today, and the rest later this week.
Shahir Saad, the head of the general federation of Palestinian trade unions, described the concessions as “disappointing”, and said public transport strikes would continue.