RAMALLAH, West Bank – Palestinian public employees virtually shut down all Palestinian Authority offices and schools in the West Bank on Wednesday, the first day of a two-day general strike to protest the government's failure to pay their November salaries.
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said his government does not have the money to pay salaries after Israel froze the transfer of more than $100 million in tax funds to the Palestinian Authority.
He called the Israeli measure “an act of piracy” and urged Palestinians to boycott Israeli products if Israel persists in withholding payment of the tax revenue, which it collects from West Bank importers using Israeli ports. Israel plans to use the money to repay part of an outstanding Palestinian debt to its electricity company for power supplied to the West Bank.
Israel took the step after the Palestinians successfully sought an upgrade of their status at the United Nations last month to that of a "nonmember observer state."