Taxis strike as West Bank protests grow

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Angry Palestinians took to the streets across the West Bank again on Thursday protesting the high cost of living and rising prices.

Taxi drivers, angry at spiraling fuel prices, organized a mass strike causing traffic jams through the morning rush hour.

Protesters called on the Palestinian Authority to abolish the Paris Protocol with Israel, which they said mostly benefited Israel. Drivers say they won’t go back to work amid calls for a mass strike in all districts.

Jacob Oweiwi, a parking attendant, said that with rising fuel prices the situation was unbearable for drivers who were working just to buy fuel.

Sahar, an employee at the Ministry of Education, told Ma’an while she was waiting for a taxi: “The PA has to find urgent solutions to mitigate the impact of high prices, which affect every sector of Palestinian society.”

Bilal, a bank employee said he had to walk about four kilometers to get to work.

On Wednesday, President Mahmoud Abbas declared the growing popular movement the “Palestinian Spring” after thousands staged protests in cities across the West Bank.

Two men in the West Bank have tried to set themselves on fire since Tuesday in protest over their financial struggles, and a teenager in Gaza who couldn’t find a job died Sunday after setting himself alight.

Young men burned tires in the road in Nablus on Wednesday, and demonstrators burned an effigy of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Hebron a day earlier.

The unions of universities and school teachers have pledged to join the strikes.

The PA cabinet on Tuesday instructed a special economic committee to to study a government memo prepared by the Ministry of National Economy about the rising prices and to find solutions to the financial crisis.
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