Some 24,000 civil servants hired by the Islamist group Hamas, many of whom have not received a full salary in almost a year, finally got some pay on Wednesday from the new Palestinian unity government based in the West Bank.
The funds were supplied by the gas-rich kingdom of Qatar, which is an ally of Hamas. But the fact the cash was delivered by the West Bank administration gave a boost to hopes that the unity pact between Palestinian rivals might bear fruit.
Hamas fighters seized control of Gaza in 2007 from forces loyal to Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas. Mutual distrust has festered ever since, marring hopes of building an independent state combining the various Palestinian territories.