A protest took place in Bethlehem yesterday evening against the Palestinian Authority (PA’s) sanctions on Gaza. Around one hundred people gathered at six pm, filling the island between Bethlehem’s Hebron road and Children’s road.
“We are protesting the sanctions that the PA has put on Gaza, including withholding money, building materials, medical supplies and electricity from Gaza” one protester told PNN.
The sanctions, which were enforced by Mahmud Abbas’ government in April 2017 have also included cutting government employee’s salaries by and third and sacking a third of all employees. The sanctions form part of Fatah’s attempts to force Hamas to renounce control of the Gaza strip.
Protesters say that the sanctions are making even worse the conditions caused by Israel’s ten-year long blockade of Gaza, and call for unity among Palestinians from West Bank, Gaza or the territories occupied in 1948, like Haifa, and an end to the Hamas Fatah rivalry, which they say distracts from the greater goal of fighting the Israeli occupation.
There have already been large protests in Haifa and Ramallah against the sanctions. Last Wednesday, PA security forces violently repressed a large demonstration in Ramallah. In Gaza, Hamas supporters broke up a protest calling for political unity last week. The gathering yesterday in Bethlehem remained peaceful and no security forces were present.