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Popular Protest: Palestinian Leaders’ Greatest Fear?

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Both the Palestinian Authority (PA), which rules the West Bank, and Hamas, which rules Gaza, have recently cracked down on journalists, arresting several in recent weeks for criticizing their respective governments; Hamas also incarcerated several activists trying to organize anti-Hamas demonstrations. Khaled Abu Toameh comments:
The latest crackdown on Palestinian journalists [likely] springs from the fear that the current wave of anti-corruption protests sweeping Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, and other Arab countries may spread to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Earlier this week, Hamas security forces also arrested one of their own officers, Hussein Qatoush, after he posted a video on Facebook in which he complained about the dire economic situation in the Gaza Strip. In the video, Qatoush said he does not have money to pay for transportation from his home to work. . . . In the eyes of Hamas, . . . it seems that any Palestinian who dares to complain about the bad economy in the Gaza Strip is a “traitor” and a “security threat.” Hamas’s latest measures are evidently aimed at preventing a repeat of the widespread demonstrations that erupted in the Gaza Strip last March. Organized by social-media activists, the demonstrators protested the high cost of living and new taxes imposed by Hamas and called for solving the economic crisis in the Gaza Strip, including the high rate of unemployment. The protests, which lasted for a few days, were quickly and brutally crushed by Hamas. Hani al-Masri, a prominent Palestinian political analyst, believes that the current anti-corruption protests sweeping some Arab countries will reach the Palestinian territories. “It is certain that the Arab Spring will arrive, sooner or later, to Palestine,” he said. “The [ruling] Palestinian elite is mostly corrupt and tyrannical [or] incompetent.”

          

Palestinians seek economic disengagement through West Bank port

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Aziza Nofal reports in Al-Monitor: Hussein al-Sheikh, the head of the General Authority for Civil Affairs, discussed the establishment of a land port in the West Bank during a meeting with the private sector at the Ramallah and al-Bireh Chamber of Commerce and Industry Oct. 7. The land port would receive goods entering the Palestinian territories from Israeli ports. “There is […]
          

HL478 - Israeli Settlements: Trade (Answered)

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Baroness Tonge
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the call by the UN independent expert on human rights in the Palestinian territories for an international ban on all products made in Israeli settlements as a step to potentially end Israel’s occupation of the West Bank; and what steps they intend to take in response to that call.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

​While it has long been our position that Israeli settlement activity is illegal, we believe that imposing sanctions on Israel or supporting anti-Israeli boycotts would not support our efforts to progress the peace process and achieve a negotiated solution. We understand the concerns of people who do not wish to purchase goods exported from Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs). It was in order to enable consumers to make a more fully informed decision concerning the products they buy that, in December 2009, the UK introduced voluntary guidelines to enable produce from Israeli settlements in the OPTs to be specifically labelled as such. Products from Israeli settlements do not receive preferential tariff treatment under the EU-Israel Association Agreement which currently governs our trade with Israel, nor the UK-Israel Trade and Partnership Agreement which will govern our trade after the UK leaves the EU.


          

HL481 - West Bank: Energy Supply (Answered)

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Baroness Tonge
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the reduction of power supplies to the West Bank and the reported denial by the government of Israel to alternative sources of power on the human rights of those living there; and what representations they intend to make to the government of Israel about increasing power supply to the West Bank.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

​The British Government is aware of the decision of the Israel Electric Corporation to cut power to parts of the West Bank, citing outstanding payments from Palestinian power distributors. Officials from our Embassy in Tel Aviv raised this issue with the Israeli authorities on 30 October. We continue to urge both sides of the dispute to reach a prompt and pragmatic resolution, ensuring minimum disruption to the lives of ordinary Palestinians. We recognise the need for improvements in infrastructure, employment, energy and water supply to improve living conditions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.




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