Abbas embraces protests, declares ‘Palestinian Spring’

Click photo to download. Caption: Mahmoud Abbas. Credit: World Economic Forum.

( In solidarity with widespread protests in the West Bank over rising prices and unemployment, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has declared that the “Palestinian Spring” has begun, the Ma’an News Agency reported.

“The Palestinian spring has begun, and we are in line with what the people say and what they want,” Abbas said while in Cairo.

But despite Abbas’s attempts at sympathy with the protesters, experts say it might not be enough.

“There is a problem in the performance of the Palestinian Authority,” Sameeh Hammoudah, a professor at Bir Zeit University, told the Times of Israel. “The economic situation here has become unbearable,” he said.

Much of the anger has also been directed against PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and his economic plan. Protestors burned him in effigy in Hebron on Tuesday and called for his resignation. While Fayyad has attempted to build Palestinian institutions, the PA still relies heavily on foreign aid to operate and subsidize costs. 

According to the World Bank, growth of the West Bank economy has slowed down in recent years due to a reduction in foreign aid related to the global recession.

Posted on September 6, 2012 .