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Non-Payment of Gaza Staff Raises Fears on PA Carrying Out Abbas Threats

Non-Payment of Gaza Staff Raises Fears on PA Carrying Out Abbas Threats

Wednesday, 11 April, 2018 - 09:30
PA President Mahmoud Abbas Reuters

The delay in the Palestinian Authority paying the salaries of Gaza Strip employees has raised fears that payrolls will be cut off as a measure of a process Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced against Hamas.

Abbas vowed to respond to Hamas’ belligerence after it was said to have been involved in the attempt on the life of Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah when visiting Gaza last month.

PA employees in Gaza complained that they did not receive their end-of-month paycheck on time, while West Bank-based employees received their salaries last Monday.

Gaza employees told Asharq Al-Awsat that they did not receive their salaries until Tuesday evening. No explanation was provided by the administration.

The Ministry of Finance has not commented on the employment fate of Gaza Strip employees. But it turned out after much controversy that the Ministry of Finance transferred to the banks in Gaza payrolls of retired military personnel only, which raised the level of concern among the rest of the staff even more.

Officials in the Strip fear they will pay for the political row between the PA and Hamas after Palestinian officials hinted Abbas might take countermeasures affecting the sector.

On March 19, Abbas announced that he had decided to take legal and financial measures against the Gaza Strip in order to preserve the “national project” without clarifying their nature.

But he added that he hoped the people of Gaza would understand the reasons behind his decisions.

Abbas had intended to declare the Gaza Strip a renegade territory but Egyptian pressure prevented it, amid expectations that Cairo would be able to sponsor a reconciliation agreement with Hamas on the handover of Gaza to PA governance.

The PA will gradually begin taking steps against the Strip until Hamas handover all power in Gaza to legitimate Palestinian leadership, Palestinian sources close to the matter told Asharq Al-Awsat.

PA sources said that the West Bank administration might go as far as stopping public sector salaries, financial transfers, and cutting water and power supply, eventually leading to declaring Gaza an outlaw rebel territory.

The delay in transferring salaries to the Gaza Strip appears to be waiting for a signal or a report on developments from Egypt on its efforts with Hamas. But it is likely that the PA will begin the process of retiring thousands of Gaza employees should Cairo-led mediation efforts fail.

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