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Day after 300,000-strong protests across Israel, Netanyahu said "government can’t satisfy everyone"

lundi 8 août 2011, par Efraim Davidi

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced yesterday (Sunday) the formation of a special economic team to "reduce the soaring cost of living", looking to ease tensions and mass protests a day after 300,000 people demonstrated across the country against government and for social justice.

The team will be headed by a neo-liberal technocrat economist from Tel-Aviv University, Professor Manuel Trajtenberg, Chairman of the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education, and will also include academics and "experts" from the private sector.

The team will also include Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias, Trade and Labor Minister Shalom Simhon, Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan, Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Shalom Simhon, Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov, Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat and Michael Eitan, minister for the improvement of government services.

According to "Haaretz" for Netanyahu was hard pressed to find experts from outside the government. During the past week he personally called economists from both the academic and private sectors in an effort to convince them to join the team.

Netanyahu’s announcement received a rather cold welcome by leaders of the protest movement as well, who expressed skepticism as to the multi-minister team’s effectiveness, saying they were being presented with "a mirage." "Yesterday’s optimism was replaced this morning with pessimism because the government doesn’t understand this significant moment – a moment in which they can regain the public’s trust in the political system," one of the protest leaders said.

The protest continues all over Israel

A day after some 300,000 people staged mass rallies to protest the high cost of living, some 1,300 parents held a "strollers’ march" in the cities of Givatayim, Carmiel, and Pardes Hanna. In the central city of Givatayim, some 700 people marched with their children while waving signs reading : "A year in university equals a year of raising a one-year-old." Meanwhile, 300 Carmiel residents held a similar procession, attended by Mayor Adi Eldar. At the end of the procession, participants set up a protest tent for the families – the second tent erected in the city thus far.

In Jerusalem, ten demonstrators advocating for public housing were arrested on Sunday morning in a protest in front of Amidar, the state-owned public housing company. Dozens of protesters from the tent city in Independence Park – named “No Choice” – were joined by students around 7:30 am to demand more public housing. "Your children eat warm food at night while our children are showering in the sprinklers !” shouted one demonstrator.

Police arrived on the scene after the demonstrators sat in front of the building and blocked the entrance, making a human chain. They chanted “Police state ! Police state !” as riot police separated them. Demonstrators claim the police used excessive force to pull them apart. The demonstrators living in Independence Park are all working-class families, among them single mothers or fathers, many of whom were evicted from apartments after failing to pay the rent, and are now homeless.

Also yesterday, were erected new tents camps in Jerusalem, near the Hebrew University by students members of the Leftist Jewish-Arab coalition "Campus for all", and in the southern cities of Yeruham and Mitzpe Ramon.

***

Israël : hausse du prix de l’électricité, au risque d’alimenter la contestation sociale

Le ministère des Finances israélien a annoncé lundi une hausse de près de 10% du prix de l’électricité, au risque d’alimenter l’agitation sociale.
"L’électricité augmente de 9,3% principalement du fait des interruptions de fourniture de gaz égyptien aux centrales électriques", a indiqué à l’AFP le porte-parole du ministère des Finances, Boaz Stembler.
Le Trésor a souligné que la hausse initialement prévue de 20% avait été réduite de moitié après que l’Etat a renoncé à une partie de ses redevances.
Le gazoduc égyptien vers Israël a été ces derniers mois la cible d’attaques répétées dans la péninsule du Sinaï, entraînant des interruptions prolongées d’alimentation en gaz.
Le ministre israélien des Finances Yuval Steinitz a exprimé dimanche l’espoir que "l’expoitation du gisement gazier Tamar en Méditerranée fin 2012, début 2013 permettra de compenser" la perte en fourniture de gaz égyptien.
L’Egypte fournit 43% du gaz naturel consommé en Israël, où 40% de l’électricité est produite à partir de cette source d’énergie.
Israël entend exploiter d’importants gisements naturels de gaz situés dans l’est de la Méditerranée, susceptibles de lui assurer une indépendance énergétique pendant plusieurs décennies, après avoir conclu un accord avec Chypre à ce sujet.
Mais le Liban conteste l’exploitation de ces ressources par Israël, affirmant qu’elle porte atteinte à sa souveraineté.

(Lundi, 08 août 2011 - Avec les agences de presse)

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