While the Palestinian Authority’s representative at the United Nations demanded of the international community to intervene for the sake of the Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip – laying full blame for the deteriorating humanitarian situation on the state of Israel; Hundreds of Palestinians protested in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank city of Ramallah, calling on President Mahmoud Abbas to end the Palestinian Authority’s financial sanctions on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. “It is not acceptable that the Authority to continue its punishment on the Gaza Strip. Shame on us if we decide to be silent about it, and we are here to ask President Abbas to take responsibility by lifting the sanctions on the Gaza Strip,” Palestinian protester Omar Assaf said.
In April 2017, Abbas slashed the salaries of thousands of government workers in Gaza by 30 percent, increasing hardship in the impoverished coastal strip that is home to two million Palestinians. The Palestinian leader has also cut the payroll of Palestinian Authority in Gaza by ordering early retirement for nearly a third of its employees. PA officials said at time that those moves were meant to increase pressure on Hamas to relinquish control of Gaza. Head of the Palestinian Authority’s Employees Union in Gaza stressed that the protests against those measures will continue so long as the sanctions continue. “Today, we will have a protest against these decisions as there will be a protest also in the West Bank. We raise our voices to deliver our clear message to the Palestinian Authority in charge, that is to lift the sanctions over Gaza. Gaza deserves life,” Head of Employees’ Union in Gaza Aref Abu Jarad, Palestinian Authority’s said.
While Palestinian security forces said they used crowed dispersal means during the protests, gun shots were heard on several occasions, and wounded were seen helped away from the rally. Nevertheless, the Palestinian Authority did not respond to TV7’s request for comment on the number of wounded during the protests.
The rivalry between Abbas’s Fatah faction and Hamas has simmered for years, and sometimes boiled over into violence since Hamas became a threat to his authority by winning parliamentary elections in 2006 and seizing military control of Gaza in a brief civil war the following year.