PA withholds salaries to Gaza employees

Palestinian Authority pays salaries to its employees based in Judea and Samaria but not to those in Gaza as tensions with Fatah continue.

Elad Benari,

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Reuters

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has paid salaries to its employees based in Judea and Samaria this month but not to those in Gaza, officials said Monday, according to the AFP news agency.

It was not immediately clear why the salaries had not been paid and if the delay was temporary, but the delay comes amid continued tense relations between PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction and Hamas.

The two groups, which have been feuding ever since, signed a reconciliation agreement in October, as part of which Hamas was to transfer power in Gaza by December 1. That deadline was initially put back by 10 days and then appeared to have been cancelled altogether after it reportedly hit “obstacles”.

Following the collapse of the agreement, Hamas several weeks ago implemented new checks on Palestinian Arabs seeking to leave Gaza.

Last month, Abbas accused Hamas of planning a failed assassination attempt on PA cabinet leader Rami Hamdallah, who was on a rare visit to Gaza.

Abbas also announced plans to sanction Hamas over the assassination attempt.

"Salaries were paid into banks in the West Bank and not in Gaza," Arif Abu Jarad, head of the union representing PA employees in Gaza, told AFP.

"There is a state of anger among staff in the strip," he added, saying they were having emergency meetings against this "terrible crime".

A source in the finance ministry in Ramallah, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the salaries had been paid in PA-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria but not Gaza, though he refused to give more details on the decision.

Employees in Gaza waited in vain for salaries at banks, an AFP photographer said.

The PA has kept paying its tens of thousands of employees in Gaza despite most not going to work since Hamas seized control of Gaza.

Analysts say cutting the salaries would seek to increase discontent in Gaza, putting more pressure on Hamas.








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