Like many countries in the Arab
world, the year 2012 brought significant changes to the people of
In September, a 5 percent increase in fuel price sparked
demonstrations in Ramallah, Jenin and Hebron.
Thousands of demonstrators angered by poverty, corruption and the
spiraling cost of living rallied outside Palestinian Prime
Minister Salam Fayyad’s office, asking him to resign.
Many protesters were injured during the rally after clashes with
The protests revealed West Bank’s fragile aid-dependent
economy--which has been facing a deepening financial crisis
because of a drop in assistance from Western and wealthy Gulf
backers, as well as restrictions on trade by Israel.
Palestine has also experienced political upheavals throughout the
Clashes between Israel and Hamas, which began earlier in June
resulted in casualties on both sides.
By the beginning of October, clashes between the two rivals
On November 14, an Israeli air strike on Gaza killed Hamas senior
commander Ahmed el-Jaabari.
A day after, Hamas fired two rockets targeting Tel Aviv in the
first attack on Israel's commercial capital in 20 years. The
attack prompted a devastating war that lasted for eight days, and
in which 160 Palestinians and 6 Israelis were killed.
With a ceasefire brokered by Egypt’s Islamist President Mohamed
Mursi, the war ended and the truce came into effect on Nov. 21.
Days later, on November 27, Arafat’s body was exhumed after traces
of a poisonous element were found in his personal belongings,
which were submitted by his wife earlier this year to a Swiss
When abnormal levels of polonium-21 were discovered in his
clothes, Arafat’s widow Suha had him brought up again as part of
an investigation, carried by French, Swiss, Russian and
Experts probing Arafat's case said results are expected the end of
Along with all its ups and downs, the month of November ended with
a joyful development for Palestinians.
After a 65-year quest for statehood, the United Nations General
Assembly voted on recognizing Palestine as a non-member state on
The vote lifts the Palestinian Authority from an observer entity
to a "non-member observer state", a step that will allow it to
join the International Criminal Court, where the Palestinians
could try and accuse Israel of war crimes.
In December, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal ended 37 years of exile
by visiting Gaza for the first time, marking Hamas’s 25th
The visit was seen in Gaza as a victory against Israel.
Thousands of Palestinians and politicians from different factions
lined up to greet Meshaal, who knelt on the ground to offer a
prayer of thanks and wished to become a martyr on Palestine’s
On a remarkable note, Palestine was a destination for a number of
Arab politicians in 2012.
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the emir of Qatar, visited Gaza
to inaugurate a Qatari investment project worth hundreds of
millions of dollars.
Jordan's King Abdullah, meanwhile, visited the West Bank for the
first time in more than a year in what analysts described as part
of an internationally backed show of support for Mahmoud Abbas.
(Courtesy: Al Arabiya.
The above article
appeared on al Arabiya website on December 23, 2012)