Palestinian Self-Immolation

Al-Ahram reports that a Gazan teen unable to find employment and care for his family set himself on fire in Gaza’s main hospital last Thursday. He succumbed to his wounds Sunday evening. The teen’s father said he had appealed to the Hamas government in Gaza and the West Bank Palestinian Authority to find work, but received no response.

Will the self-immolation phenomena which began in Tunisia to protest economic and social grievances become a trend with Palestinians?

The Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported that in the West Bank city Hebron, a Palestinian man attempted to light himself ablaze in front of a municipal building this morning, but was prevented by Palestinian security.

While both instances were Palestinian protests against the economic policies of their leadership, so far Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have refrained from blaming the self-immolations on Israel. However it can be expected that they soon will to divert public anger.

Self-immolations which began in Tunisia and sparked the Arab uprisings have spread throughout the Arab world to India, Ethiopia, Tibet and Israel. It seems that many leaders aloof to the severity of the global economic crisis and social impact are either unwilling or unable to implement realistic change and reform. They will no doubt face grave challenges ahead.

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