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Last Updated: Friday, 1 September 2006, 13:36 GMT 14:36 UK
Newspapers blast Hamas over economy chaos
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The UN says that 80% of Palestinians live in poverty

Several Palestinian writers are furious at the turn of events developing in Gaza and the West Bank as Hamas authorities seek to head off a planned strike.

Columnists in key Palestinian newspapers believe Hamas is dangerously mishandling the economy. Many employees receive only partial salaries due to the suspension of EU and US aid.

Al-Hayat al-Jadidah, commentary by Basim Abu-Sumayyah

The use of live bullets yesterday and threats to use similar methods to disperse peaceful protests by hardworking citizens will lead to an explosion. This is a crime punishable by law even in the most backward dictatorships. It is unacceptable that protesters face violence and bullets, no matter what the situation is. We do not believe that hungry labourers and employees are planning to threaten the lives of officials or sabotage public property. This does not warrant the government announcing a state of alert that was not even announced when the Israeli occupation army overran Shaja'iyah district two days ago.

Al-Hayat al-Jadidah, commentary by Yahya Rabah

The loaf of bread is the essence of any revolution. No-one can stand against the lack of bread, not even great emperors or arrogant kings. The loaf of bread became a guillotine that cut off heads. Hunger turned people into predatory wolves... I say to those who are full: "Be careful because the hungry in Palestine are cooking rocks, what will happen if they start throwing them at you?"

Al-Ayyam, commentary by Muhammad Yaghi

The reason for the government's sterility is its programme. It is not important that it recognises Israel or renounces violence. What is important for the whole world is that Hamas's aim should be to reach a solution, a permanent settlement to the conflict, based on the mutual recognition of borders and rights to security. The international community does not care about the number of Palestinian casualties because it says Israel has the right to defend its existence... The Hamas government has to find a way for itself and for the Palestinian people out of the predicament by frankly recognising international legitimacy and the Arab peace initiative.

Al-Ayyam, commentary by Samih Shubayb

Hamas's belittling the impact of unpaid salaries and the open-ended strike will only help the strike become more chronic. This will lead the public to a level of great danger which requires the presidency to find a quick and responsible solution even if President Abbas has to use his constitutional authority to dismiss the government. Such a step would lead to the emergence of a government capable of handling the socio-political burdens in a manner that is harmonious with the Palestinian people's supreme interests.

Al-Ayyam, commentary by Rajab Abu-Surayyah

Hamas has to co-exist with the other parts of the general political system instead of trying to become an alternative to it. Going to a referendum to decide on ambiguous programme should remain the deciding factor. The strike, no matter what the motives behind it are, is an act of salvation that aims to rectify an error in the top political echelons... The strike's success can release the potential of a resisting people that no-one will be able to stop from achieving their goals of freedom and independence.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.





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