Arab shopkeepers in the occupied West Bank of the River Jordan called a 24-hour strike on Sunday (1 August).
Arab shopkeepers in the occupied West Bank of the River Jordan called a 24-hour strike on Sunday (1 August). They were protesting against the imposition by Israel of a sales tax on retail goods.
SYNOPSIS: Few people were on the streets of the town of Nablus when the strike started. Visitors to the area said many shops had opened in the morning but closed a few hours later after being urged to do so by groups of young Arabs. The shops were boarded up and locked as a precaution against possible violence on the streets.
Israeli troops and police were alerted but apart from a few isolated incidents of stoning by Arab youths there was little evidence of the violence that had rocked the West Bank area earlier this year. Most of the violence had been caused by a number of Israeli settlements set up in the occupied territory. The most recent disturbances have been caused by the imposition of the new tax. Israel adopted an eight per cent value added tax (VAT) on 1 July and decided to extend it to the West Bank because of the extensive trade between the two sides. West Bank residents claim Israeli regulations should not be applied to them since they consider themselves governed by Jordanian law. Israel captured the territory from Jordan in 1967.
Youths set up barricades of stones in the streets of Nablus and burned tyres, as they also did in similar demonstrations in the nearby towns of Tulkarem and Jenin. But there were no reports of major clashes with Israeli security forces.