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      Gaza Banks in Currency Crisis

      Gaza banks are answering withdrawal requests with multiple currencies, leading to an exchange rate crisis for local residents.
      By Gabe Kahn
      First Publish: 5/14/2012, 10:56 PM

      Money (illustration)
      Money (illustration)
      Flash 90

      Gaza banks are experiencing another currency crisis, protesters told the Belthlehem-based Maan News Agency on Thursday.

      Palestinian Authority employees reportedly organized a sit-in in front of the Bank of Palestine in Nuseirat to protest the fact that their salaries were distributed in multiple currencies.

      "We were surprised today that our salaries were in dollars, (Jordanian) dinars, and shekels which will result in penalties due to the exchange rate," one employee said.

      Hamas, like its Fatah rivals in Ramallah, has experienced numerous cash-flow problems since seizing the coastal enclave from the Palestinian Authority in a bloody 2007 putsch.

      In the wake of a sharp cut in funding to the terror organization by its benefactor Iran over its Syria stance, Hamas officials began a barnstorm tour of the Muslim world in search of funds.

      However, donations from the West and Arab world amid the global economic downturn and Arab Spring have plummeted leaving both Hamas and the PA on the brink of ruin.

      In addition to currency shortages and an inability to pay wages in full, Hamas has experienced an ongoing power crisis as Egypt cracks down on black market fuel shipments to Gaza.

      Hamas, which refuses to purchase fuel from Israel at market rates, is feuding with the PA over tax-revenues paid to Ramallah by shipments through Israel's Kerem Shalom crossing.

      Cairo and Ramallah recently signed a deal for a fuel pipeline to Gaza and upgrading the enclave's sole power plan that effectively left Hamas in the cold.

      Politburo chief Khaled Mashaal, who is at odds with the Hamas leadership in Gaza on numerous fronts, has suggested the terror group get out of governance entirely, saying politics are bad for the revolution.

      The ongoing fiscal troubles have raised serious questions about whether Fatah or Hamas are ready to lead a state alongside Israel.

      Both factions are running fiscally insolvent, donations-dependent administrations with deficits rising to hundreds of millions of dollars per annum.