PA Unrest as Crisis Continues

The PA heads off a strike by promising to pay salaries, but warns that needs will go unmet in August. Arab League nations blamed.

Maayana Miskin,

PA Prime Minister Fayyad
PA Prime Minister Fayyad
Israel news photo: Flash 90

After paying workers just half their normal salaries for the month of June, the Palestinian Authority is hoping to avert a threatened general strike by paying full salaries for July. However, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad warned that “the payment of full salaries will significantly reduce the ability fo the PA to meet other needs during the next month.”

The Government Workers Union in the PA in Judea and Samaria had threatened an open-ended strike if salaries were not paid.

In what may be a sign of growing unrest, union head Bassam Zakarna accused PA leaders of fabricating a financial crisis to avoid their responsibilities. “This financial crisis is made up... the treasury has enough money to pay full salaries,” he told the PA-based Maan news.

Fayyad's caretaker government has faced allegations of corruption and fiscal mismanagement, and several government ministers are suspected of having stolen millions of dollars from state coffers. Corruption allegations were revealed shortly after workers learned that they would be receiving just 50% of their usual monthly salary.

Fayyad continues to blame the PA's financial woes on donor nations, and on the Arab world in particular. Several Arab nations have promised aid but failed to deliver, leaving the PA facing a deficit of more than $500 million for 2011, according to Fayyad.

Only three Arab countries – the United Arab Emirates, Algeria and Oman – delivered promised aid, he has alleged, while more than $600 million in promised money has yet to be sent. Last week Fayyad appealed to the Arab League for $300 million to be given immediately.