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Palestinian leaders cancel tax hikes amid protests

September 11, 2012 |  7:04 am

Palestinians-protests
JERUSALEM -- Responding to violent protests in several West Bank cities, the Palestinian Authority said Tuesday it would cancel planned tax hikes on cooking gas, fuel and other commodities.

Rising consumer prices in recent months and the authority’s ongoing financial crunch sparked clashes Monday between protesters and Palestinian security officers.

After an emergency cabinet meeting Tuesday, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said he would offset the lost tax revenue by slashing salaries of top government ministers and other senior officials. He also promised the government would pay partial salaries by next week to government employees who are still awaiting their August paychecks.

Due in part to a drop in international aid over the past two years, the Palestinian Authority is struggling with a monthly deficit of $100 million. Among those nations that have not delivered promised aid is the United States, which pledged $200 million.

Israel has also been alarmed by the demonstrations, which some fear could grow into another uprising against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. According to a report on Israel Radio, Israeli officials are considering loaning money to the Palestinian Authority or moving up the delivery of monthly tax receipts that Israeli port officials collect on behalf of the Palestinians.

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--Edmund Sanders

Photo: Palestinians demonstrate against the high cost of living in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday. The prime minister pledged on Tuesday that the Palestinian Authority will cancel planned tax hikes on fuel and cut salaries of top officials. Credit: Majdi Mohammed / Associated Press.

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