Smoke is seen after what witnesses said was an Israeli air strike in Gaza City..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A senior Fatah official said on Monday that the Gaza Strip “won’t get a penny” unless there’s a “legitimate authority” there.
Azzam al-Ahmed, who headed the Palestinian delegation to the Cairo cease-fire talks during Operation Protective Edge, also reiterated the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to pay salaries to tens of thousands of Hamas employees in the Gaza Strip. He said these employees had been appointed by an illegitimate government – a reference to the Hamas cabinet headed by Ismail Haniyeh.
Ahmed condemned the Hamas employees for attacking banks in the Gaza Strip upon learning that the PA had no intention of paying their salaries.
Hamas has more than 40,000 employees in the Gaza Strip. It claims that the Palestinian “national consensus” government, which was formed after the signing of the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal last April, is responsible for paying their salaries. The PA, on the other hand, has tens of thousands of its own civil servants there who have continued to receive salaries although they have not worked since 2007, when Hamas seized control.
On Sunday, PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah was quoted as saying that he was unable to pay the Hamas employees as a result of threats from several donor countries.
Ahmed said that a donor conference scheduled to convene in Cairo later this year to discuss ways of helping the Gaza Strip “won’t pay a penny without the presence of a legitimate and recognized authority.” He pointed out that a similar conference, which convened in Sharm al-Sheikh in 2009, did not pay even one dollar of the promised $4.8 billion because of the illegitimate Hamas government.
Meanwhile, Hamas announced on Monday that it had handed out $20 million in aid to families whose homes were completely destroyed during Operation Protective Edge, and another $11.5m. to those whose homes were damaged. It also paid $2,000 in relief aid to each family that lost its house, while the families of “martyrs” were given a total of $800,000.
It did not say where the money came from.