Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud AbbasFlash 90

The Palestinian Authority (PA) on Saturday promised to pay Hamas employees in Gaza their backlogged salary "as soon as possible," but one PA official revealed fears over the group's international purse-strings are behind the continuous postponement in pay.

Tensions in the wage war began with the PA-Hamas unity deal in April, after which Hamas's 40,000 employees in Gaza still were not paid backlogged wages by the new unity government even as the PA's 70,000 employees in Gaza continue to be paid.

The rage boiled over into violence, with Hamas eventually shutting down all the banks in Gaza for roughly a week, until in June financial bail-out from Qatar temporarily stemmed the crisis; however, Hamas's launching a terror war on Israel early in July apparently put off the salary payments even further.

A solution from the PA does not appear to be imminent.

"The salaries of the civil servants with the (Palestinian) Authority will be paid next week and the government is trying to pay those of Hamas as soon as possible," PA unity government spokesperson Ehab Bseiso told AFP on Saturday.

The real reason for the delay?

As for the reason for the delay, the PA unity government has claimed Hamas employees need to be vetted before they are put on the payrolls of the new government, a process that could take months.

However, a PA official speaking on condition of anonymity said the PA is waiting to ensure that such payments to members of the internationally proscribed terrorist group do not jeopardize international aid to the PA, reports the Palestinian Arab Ma'an News Agency.

"Hamas is regarded as a terrorist organization by many abroad. The government wants to obtain guarantees that it is allowed to pay these wages," said the source.

Ironically, even without the Hamas link there has been wide criticism that international funding of the PA already goes directly to funding terror, given its generous bankrolling of convicted terrorists. PA officials have revealed the organization is using deceit to dupe donors and continue funding terror.

Likewise the PA has called for a return to terror recently, with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction declaring "open war" on Israel.

Tensions between the PA and Hamas

According to PA spokesperson Bseiso, the PA has 107,000 employees in Judea and Samaria in addition to the 70,000 in Gaza, bringing their salaries to a total of $200 million per month. Of that, $35 million is paid by international aid, with the majority, $120 million, paid by taxes collected by Israel for the PA.

It is worth noting that as of March, the PA had reached a staggering $4.8 billion in debt.

The tension over the wage war comes amid great stress between Hamas and the PA; it was revealed two weeks ago that the IDF had stopped large-scale coup planned by Hamas in Judea and Samaria to overthrow the PA.

With the new agreement to a ceasefire last Tuesday between Israel and Hamas, those tensions have flared again with the PA accusing Hamas of preventing it from supervising Gaza's reconstruction.

In context of the ceasefire deal and the Hamas wage war, it should be noted that one of the ceasefire agreements that was rumored earlier this month and later shot down was a plan to have Israel foot the bill for Hamas employees' backlogged paychecks.