Palestinian Authority Cuts Staff Pay in Half

A Palestinian woman walks past shops in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, July 2, 2020, the day the Palestinian Authority said it would be halving May salary payments for public sector workers. Photo by REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman.
A Palestinian woman walks past shops in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, July 2, 2020, the day the Palestinian Authority said it would be halving May salary payments for public sector workers. Photo by REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman.
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Palestinian Authority Cuts Staff Pay in Half

A Palestinian woman walks past shops in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, July 2, 2020, the day the Palestinian Authority said it would be halving May salary payments for public sector workers. Photo by REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman.
A Palestinian woman walks past shops in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, July 2, 2020, the day the Palestinian Authority said it would be halving May salary payments for public sector workers. Photo by REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman.

Palestinian Finance Minister Shukri Bishara announced that the government would only pay 50 percent of salaries for its employees for the months of May and June, with a minimum of 1,750 shekels.

This will affect thousands of workers as the Palestinian Authority (PA) refuses to receive its taxation revenues from Israel.

The transfers, about USD190 million a month, make up more than half of the PA's budget and stem from duties on imports that reach the West Bank and Gaza via Israeli ports. The PA snubbed the taxes after declaring bilateral agreements with Israel null in May.

Bishara pointed out that the PA is currently faced with three financial challenges; the first one resulting from the Palestinian leadership’s protest against Israel’s annexation move, the second resulting from Israel’s attempts to sue Palestinian banks, and the third is the outcome of grappling with the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

“In June, the PA received zero clearance funds at a time when local revenues declined by 280 million shekels. Besides, the PA did not receive 100 million shekels in external financial aid, a situation which resulted in the PA not receiving 380 million shekels in revenues,” said the Minister.

In terms of the monthly expenses, Bishara pointed out that they totaled 760 million shekels, including 550 million shekels accounting for the minimum public wages besides 210 million shekels in other expenses, particularly health expenses following the coronavirus outbreak.

The resulting government budget gap was covered through a bank loan of 250 million shekels, he stated, adding that those whose salaries are below 1,750 shekels will be fully paid, and those whose salaries are above it will receive 50 percent of their salaries.

Bishara said that the payment of fifty percent of salaries will continue in the coming period "as long as the tax revenues crisis continues." Yet, he added that in case more funds were available, a greater percentage of the salary would be paid next month.



Sudanese Sovereignty Council Member: Jeddah Platform Key for Peace

Representatives of the Sudanese conflict parties during the signing of the Jeddah Agreement in May 2023 (Reuters)
Representatives of the Sudanese conflict parties during the signing of the Jeddah Agreement in May 2023 (Reuters)
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Sudanese Sovereignty Council Member: Jeddah Platform Key for Peace

Representatives of the Sudanese conflict parties during the signing of the Jeddah Agreement in May 2023 (Reuters)
Representatives of the Sudanese conflict parties during the signing of the Jeddah Agreement in May 2023 (Reuters)

Sudan’s new Sovereignty Council member, Salaheddin Adam Tour, said on Friday he was assigned his role under “extremely complex” circumstances and is waiting to officially take over his duties.
In an exclusive interview with the Arab World News Agency, Tour denied any existing peace plan between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
“There is no sign of peace yet,” he said. “However, the state has a comprehensive plan to achieve peace,” referring to the agreements from the “Jeddah Platform.”
Tour said he doesn't yet know which tasks he’ll be given, as this decision rests with the state.
Regarding his goals as a council member, Tour said: “We aim to improve living conditions and reduce the suffering of people in camps and those displaced abroad.”
“Our government is working hard to support the armed forces, restore stability in Sudan, and bring back refugees and displaced people forced to flee due to the war,” he added.
On Thursday, army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan issued a decree appointing Tour to the Sovereignty Council, representing the Sudan Liberation Movement - Transitional Council (SLM-TC).
This appointment is part of the Juba Peace Agreement implementation.
On Friday, the Sudanese government reaffirmed its commitment to the Jeddah Declaration and international humanitarian law, emphasizing the protection of civilians.
It stated that the armed forces are dedicated to their constitutional role in defending the country and respecting international rules of engagement.
Sudan’s Foreign Ministry announced that the government will facilitate visas for UN personnel and humanitarian workers.
The ministry also pledged to work with the international community to ensure humanitarian aid reaches those in need, following national and UN guidelines.
Additionally, the ministry dismissed concerns about an imminent famine, citing reports from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Sudan’s Ministry of Agriculture that confirm the country’s food reserves are sufficient to meet citizens’ needs.