Sunday, June 08, 2014

Trouble in Paradise? Hamas, Fatah squabble over salaries to Hamas workers, Gaza banks closed

Ma'an reports:
Banks in the Gaza Strip remained closed Sunday morning as a financial crisis which began Wednesday evening threatened to undermine confidence in the newly-formed Palestinian unity government.

Employees of the formerly Hamas-run government in the Gaza Strip have insisted that they should receive their salaries from the new reconciliation government, and local police deployed around banks and ATMs again Sunday to prevent PA employees related to the new unity government from receiving their salaries until a solution is reached.

Hamas and Fatah, it seems, had neglected to reach an agreement on whether the newly-formed unity government would take over paying the 50,000 employees, including security officers, who were employed by the Hamas-run government that was in power in Gaza since the beginning of the political division in 2007.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday that the financial crisis -- which he blamed on Hamas -- was "unacceptable."

The crisis began on Wednesday, when Gaza-based Palestinian Authority public sector employees went to withdraw their salaries from ATM machines but were prevented from doing so by security officers of the formerly Hamas-run government.

On Thursday morning, banks were unable to operate after Hamas' security forces deployed around them in protest against the unity government's failure to pay the salaries of Gaza employees who had been hired by the formerly Hamas-run government.

When banks tried to open on Sunday morning after the Friday-Saturday weekend, officers of the former Hamas government refused to allow banks to operate because they still had not been paid their monthly wages by the unity government.
If 50,000 Hamas employees aren't being paid, that is a recipe for another civil war in Gaza. Look for Abbas to beg Gulf countries to pay these salaries in the next week or two.

Also, there are reports today that Hamas attacked the Office of the Central Committee of Fatah Commissioner Dr. Zakaria al-Agha in Gaza City, and beat some of the staff.

Sources said that Hamas broke into the office Agha's office and expelled all workers and shut down the office, demanding their salaries by the Government of National Reconciliation.

Other reports said that the members of the Hamas police beat a female member of the Arab Socialist Baath Party and member of the General Union of Palestinian Women unconscious, while she tried to enter a bank in Gaza City.