Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (R) talks with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hamas is demanding proof from Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah that donor countries have threatened to suspend financial aid to the Palestinians if his government paid salaries to Hamas employees in the Gaza Strip.
Hamdallah said recently that donor countries had warned him not to pay salaries to Hamas’s 40,000 civil servants.
“The government and the banks operating in the Palestinian territories were warned that if they make these payments to former Hamas government employees, then the government and the people will be boycotted,” the prime minister said in an interview with AFP in late August.
His refusal to pay the Hamas employees remains a point of contention in the ongoing dispute between the Islamist movement and the PA’s ruling Fatah faction.
Hamas insists that under the terms of the April reconciliation pact with Fatah, the PA government is obliged to pay salaries to all Hamas employees in the Gaza Strip.
PA officials, however, have made it clear that they had no intention to comply with the demand. They said that the Hamas employees were “illegitimate workers hired by an illegitimate [Hamas] government.”
Hamdallah headed to New York over the weekend to attend a meeting of the donor coordination group for the Palestinian people, the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, which is scheduled to convene on September 22.
On Saturday, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri challenged Hamdallah to come up with evidence backing his claim about international threats to suspend financial aid to the Palestinians.
“Hamdallah’s statements are baseless claims,” Abu Zuhri said. “He should show any document or official correspondence to back up his claim.”
Ahmed Bahr, a senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, said on Friday that the Hamdallah government should resign if it is not able to provide any services to its people.
Bahr said that the government has done nothing for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip – neither before nor after Operation Protective Edge.
He said that paramedics, doctors, nurses and civil defense workers have not received salaries despite all their work during the military confrontation.