Hamas leader claims PA cut 37 Hamas lawmakers salaries

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July 9, 2017 19:57

PA President Mahmoud Abbas has made a number of moves in recent weeks to pressure Hamas to concede control of the West Bank.

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Hamas Abbas

Hamas members and Abbas. (photo credit:REUTERS)

The Palestinian Authority cut the salaries of 37 Hamas-affiliated lawmakers in the West Bank, senior Hamas official Ahmad Bahr said on Sunday.

“The Finance Ministry in Ramallah informed 37 representatives of the Change and Reform bloc [Hamas] of the cutting of their salaries and confirmed to them that they won’t receive their salaries this month,” Bahr, who is based in the Gaza Strip, said in a statement.

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The PA Finance Ministry spokesman did not respond to multiple phone calls. Nayef Rajoub, a Hamas-backed lawmaker in the West Bank, confirmed Bahr’s account to Al-Risalah, a newspaper closely connected to Hamas.

Lawmakers have been receiving monthly salaries even though the Palestinian Legislative Council, the PA parliament, has not operated since 2007.

Bahr called the alleged move to cut the Hamas-backed lawmakers’ salaries “a declaration of war on the legislative council and its democratically elected representatives.”

PA President Mahmoud Abbas has made a number of moves in recent weeks to pressure Hamas to concede control of the West Bank. He has slashed the salaries of PA employees in Gaza, reduced the supply of electricity to the area and cut medical budgets.

Abbas told the pan-Arab daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat in an interview published on Sunday that the Palestinian leadership may “resort to imposing immediate financial sanctions” on Hamas if it “continues to insist on working against the institutions of the Palestinian state in Ramallah.”

Abbas was in Cairo on Sunday, where he met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

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