RAMALLAH, West Bank, Dec 13 (Reuters) - The European Union will consider making direct payments to Palestinian policemen who have gone without full salaries since Hamas took power in March, an EU aid chief said on Wednesday.So instead of telling the PA that there is no way their terrorist-moonlighting "police" would get a dime from the civilized world, Hans Duynhouwer empowers Hamas by saying that if it can just hang on to power a bit more, the EU will be happy to fill in the gaps in its budget.
But Hans Duynhouwer, head of the EU programme that provides aid to low-wage Palestinian workers, played down the chances of the EU agreeing to pay security services across the board as requested by President Mahmoud Abbas.
Duynhouwer said it was "a sensitive issue and the EU was not enthusiastic about it".
Abbas asked the EU to expand its so-called Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) to include roughly 80,000 members of the security services, including the police force.
"We have been asked to consider the possibility of making a possible payment of police in blue civil protection and this will be taken up next year," Duynhouwer told Reuters in the West Bank city of Ramallah. "It is difficult to foresee the extension to all security services, but extending it to all civil servants is an option that could be considered."
Abbas aide Saeb Erekat said the president was facing a serious problem because his presidential guard and other members of the security services had gone without salaries since March, when a U.S.-led economic blockade was imposed on the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority.
"We are facing a very big and serious problem. We have asked the TIM to extend the mechanism to include the presidential guard and security services," Erekat said. The EU created the aid mechanism in June as a way to deliver aid directly to Palestinians working in critical sectors, like health care, without providing the money to the Hamas-led government.
The mechanism has been expanded to pay 70,000 low-income public sector employees and pensioners. The security services, and civil servants with salaries higher than $600, have been excluded.
The EU aid mechanism has so far provided "allowances" to Palestinians totalling more than 112 million euros ($148 million). EU officials say it has provided access to water, health services and sanitation for 1.3 million Palestinians and paid allowances to around a million people.
See this previous post.