Thursday, November 8, 2007
"The siege [by Israel] is affecting all aspects of life. You cannot find construction materials or spare parts for household goods or computers.
The cost of basic commodities, such as flour and rice has gone up between 15 and 45%. People are spending much less on meat, chicken and fish. The World Health Organization recently said 70% of schoolchildren are suffering from anaemia.
People who are on the Ramallah government payroll are being paid - except those affiliated to Hamas. [Hamas leader] Ismail Haniya is paying 17,000 people who are working with him.
But the private sector is collapsing, including the agricultural sector.
The rift between the two governments is deepening. Hamas is creating an entirely separate legal system here in Gaza.
They've established a higher justice council and have recruited 20 new prosecutors.
Hamas calls for dialogue in public, to cover the fact it is creating a parallel system in Gaza.
Once the separation of Gaza is complete, the blame will be put on Abbas and his people, because they are the ones publicly refusing to enter dialogue. "
"Economically, the situation is improving: Palestinian Authorities employees are being paid, shops are open.
People have more money to run a car, so there is more traffic on the streets.
National security troops are guarding all parts of Nablus city and people are feeling more secure. I think this is in response to the security Hamas imposed in Gaza, it was showing up Fatah in the West Bank.
Two militia men from Balata camp recently surrendered to police. A policeman has just told me they have retrieved about 60 automatic rifles from the camp and elsewhere in the last two days.
That's the good side of things. The bad side is that there are more than 500 Israeli military checkpoints across the West Bank.
If I want to reach my farm, which is in a village about 10 minutes away, I now have to drive for more than three hours to get there.
Politically, Hamas and Fatah are far apart. I can't see them negotiating with each other.People say the US-sponsored conference [in November] is a photo opportunity for the Saudi and Israeli officials. I suspect it will be a waste of time."