A well-informed source in Ramallah confirmed that the new Palestinian ministry of finance in the caretaker government mistakenly transferred one year's salary to 3,500 members of Hamas' Executive Force in the Gaza Strip.The best numbers I can find for average PA worker salary is about $375 a month.
The source added "it was a mistake in the computer, as the Fatah employees were surprised that their salaries were not transferred to the banks in Gaza, but the salaries of the EF were."
Ma'an's correspondent in Gaza confirmed that Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's government paid not just one month of the salaries; but an entire year's earnings.
Spokesperson of the Executive Force, Sabir Khalifa, confirmed to Ma'an that 3,500 members of the force received salaries for 12 months. He added that it is almost half of the force that received their salaries.
Khalifa said "this is an official recognition from [Palestinian President] Abbas and Fayyad that the force is legitimate and legal."
The remainder of the EF, who did not receive their salaries, said that half of the force received a grant from deposed Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. The unpaid force members said that they expect that they will be paid by Haniyeh's government in the future.
This means that nearly $16 million just got transferred from the EU and USA-funded PA coffers to Hamas.
Given that there have been consistent reports of attempts to bring Hamas back into the PA, one may very well wonder how "accidental" this "computer error" was.
UPDATE: Pro-Hamas Palestine Today claims that it was no mistake and Fayyad meant to pay Hamas for past paychecks, and they claim that a Fatah official confirmed it.