The government of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad promised Monday to pay full salaries to tens of thousands of civil servants for at least six months, but also warned that employees cooperating with Hamas will be cut from the payroll.
In Hamas-ruled Gaza, mosque preachers struck back with a religious decree that government workers who accept Fayyad's money under such conditions violate the rules of Islam.
The first full wage payments to public sector employees in more than a year - made possible by a renewal of Western aid and Israeli tax transfers - have become the latest test case in the bitter wrangling over who is the legitimate ruler of the Palestinians.
The incoming funds give Fayyad's government considerable leverage over Hamas, which seized control of Gaza by force last month but has not said how it will provide for the coastal strip's 1.4 million residents.
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