Hamas supporters
Hamas supportersAbed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90

Hamas on Wednesday demanded that the national unity government with longtime rival Fatah commit to previously agreed-to understandings regarding salaries of civil servants.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement quoted by the Ma’an news agency that the unity government should deal with all employees equally and fairly, calling upon the government to end its "discrimination policy."

The statement comes one week after the public workers union in Gaza announced the start of a general strike across all public institutions in protest against the unity government's continued failure to pay salaries to tens of thousands of employees of the former Hamas government.

The issue of payment for workers in Gaza has been a point of contention between the sides for a long time. Hamas employees were enraged in June when the new unity government did not pay their salaries at the start of the month, despite the 70,000 Palestinian Authority (PA) employees in Gaza being able to withdraw their paychecks. The rage boiled over into fistfights, with Hamas eventually shutting down all the banks in Gaza for roughly a week.

Abu Zuhri said on Wednesday that the PA spokesperson's statement that the government's decisions are based on previous agreements is not true and shows "ill intentions and a loss of credibility."

In March, Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah vowed that Hamas employees in Gaza would be enlisted to the payroll of the Palestinian Authority.

The strike announcement last week, however, signaled renewed determination by public workers to pressure the Fatah-Hamas unity government to address the simmering crisis over the workers, whose future is still uncertain since the April 2014 unity deal.

Despite the formation of a unity pact between Fatah and Hamas last year after years of fighting, there have been continuous signs that the agreement is crumbling.

Last week, in a continuing war of words between the sides, senior Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahar asserted that PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas had forfeited his legitimacy to lead.

In an article published in the Hamas journal Palestine, Al-Zahar accused Abbas of "treachery" over the PA's security cooperation with the IDF, saying that that - along with the fact that Abbas's term as "president" expired years ago - rendered him illegitimate to rule PA-held territory.

The tension between the sides has continued as the PA has arrested members of Hamas in the PA-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria. Other tensions included Hamas's attempt to stage a violent coup in Judea and Samaria against the Palestinian Authority.