Thursday, September 06, 2012

Arab Spring Took Only One Setting Himself On Fire -- Now 3 Palestinians Have Done It

On September 1, a young Palestinian in Gaza killed himself by setting himself on fire:
The death of a young Gaza man who set himself on fire because he could not find a job has sent shock waves through this conservative territory and underscored growing despair among Palestinian youth.

The self-immolation of 21-year-old Ihab Abu Nada was the first in Gaza, after a series of copycat deaths in the Middle East since a Tunisian youth set himself on fire in December 2010. That case triggered protests and revolutions that have swept across the Arab world, toppling dictatorships and touching off a civil war in Syria.
In the article, the father notes that his son was often harassed by Hamas when he tried to sell bags of potato chips on the street, but more than that:
The father blamed Palestinian infighting for their family's woes. He said he appealed to both governments, Hamas and Abbas' Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, to help his family, but received no response.
Abu Nada set himself on fire on Saturday and died from his wounds the next day, on Sunday.

Then a second Palestinian set himself on fire: Palestinian man attempts to set himself on fire in West Bank village of Dura
The phenomenon of self-immolation as a method of protest against economic inequality has found its way to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well.

Khaled Abu-Rabia, a 42-year-old resident of the Al-Fawar refugee camp, began dousing himself in gasoline with the intention of self-immolating on Tuesday in the municipality building in the West Bank town of Dura.
A guard who noticed what he was doing stopped him, but Abu-Rabia died from his wounds.

Abu-Rabia had held a different jobs -- in the Palestinian police, as a taxi driver and working at a coffee stand, but had trouble keeping a job. His father told reporters that his son was trying to draw attention to his family's poor living conditions.

And yesterday, a third Palestinian tried to set himself -- and his 6 year old daughter -- on fire, but was stopped by a crowd of people in Ramallah. The man, Hasan Qahwaji, apparently tried to set himself and his daughter on fire because he cannot afford her cancer treatment.

In response, Abbas has come out with multiple claims of how the Palestinian Authority, and even the King of Jordan, have helped Abu-Rabia, who in some cases has turned down their money.

With 3 such attempts (and 2 successful) in the space of a week, the obvious question is whether we may yet see the Arab Spring come to what is arguably the most well-established corrupt Muslim regimes in the Middle East.

We have already noted that the Suppression Of Free Speech By Abbas Regime Is Only Getting Worse resulting in Chaos In The West Bank. Considering the growing discontent among Palestinian Arabs, we may be seeing the tragic spark that could explode into yet one more revolt in the region.

And that may be what has begun to happen.

A Palestinian protester wearing a Guy Fawkes mask near a burning effigy
 of Salam Fayyad 
 (Reuters/Mussa Qawasma)
Maan is reporting:
  • Protests across West Bank against high cost of living
    Angry Palestinians on Tuesday took to the streets across the West Bank protesting the high cost of living and the price rises in the Palestinian market.

    From Hebron to Jenin, thousands of Palestinians demonstrated against a rapid rise in prices of fuel and basic products. Protestors called on the Palestinian Authority to abolish the Paris Protocol with Israel, which they said rendered the Palestinian economy subordinate to Israel's economy.
  • President says Palestinian Spring has begun
    President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday that the "Palestinian Spring" had begun, as Palestinians took to the streets across the West Bank in protest over rising prices.

    "The Palestinian spring has begun, and we are in line with what the people say and what they want," Abbas said, addressing a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo.

    The president said the protesters' demands to reduce costs of basic goods and for regular payment of salaries were "right and fair."
  • Fayyad 'ready to resign'
    Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Thursday announced he would resign if that was the will of the people, amid growing protests across the West Bank over the rising cost of living.

    Palestinians have taken to the streets for three days in mass demonstrations against price rises and unemployment, and protesters in cities across the West Bank have called for Fayyad's resignation. In Hebron on Tuesday, protesters burned an effigy of the premier.

So, has the time finally come for the Arabs to bring down the Hamas and PA governments?
Or will the saying about Palestinians never missing an opportunity to pass up an opportunity again be borne out?

Hat tip: Honest Reporting

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