By Mohamed Abdullah
Thousands of Palestinians staged a sit-in outside the government headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday to protest a controversial social security law.
The law came into force earlier this month, with the Ramallah-based government unveiling a timetable for enforcing the legislation on all firms.
Protesters called for scrapping the legislation and for the resignation of Labor Minister Mamoun Abu Shahla.
Monday’s sit-in is the third by Palestinian protesters against the controversial law in the past four months.
The law calls for deducting 7.2 percent of private-sector employees’ monthly salaries for a social-security fund (which employers would also be expected to pay into) and setting the national retirement age -- for both men and women -- at 60 years.
The law was not approved by the Palestinian Legislative Council (parliament), which has remained largely non-functional since 2007 due to fundamental political differences between Hamas (which runs the Gaza Strip) and Fatah (which controls the West Bank-based Palestinian government).