haniyeh waving 298 88 ap.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who has been entrusted with forming the new Palestinian Authority cabinet, said over the weekend that he will reduce his salary from $4,000 to $1,500 per month following US and Israeli threats to impose financial sanctions on the Palestinians.
Addressing worshippers at a mosque in Khan Yunis during Friday prayers, Haniyeh said: "I want to tell you that for me personally, $2,000 is enough; in fact, $1,500 each month is enough. This is my conviction and policy and we will work toward helping the poor."
Haniyeh said his cabinet would also reduce high salaries of senior officials and cut expenditure so that the Palestinians could face threats by Israel, the US and the international community to cut off financial aid in the wake of Hamas's victory in the January 25 parliamentary election.
"I believe that my cabinet would be able to assume its responsibilities in the face of these serious challenges," he said. "Israel, America and Europe can't decide on our people's livelihood because that's only in God's hands."
He added: "We have full confidence in God and the Arab and Islamic nations. Hamas has already received positive responses from a number of Islamic and Arabic countries with regards to financial and moral aid."
Haniyeh accused PA officials of mishandling public funds for many years, pointing out that one of the top leaders used to cost the budget about $200,000 per month. "Under my cabinet, things like this would never happen," he told the crowd. "The time when PA officials could spend money without accountability and transparency is over."
Referring to the last week's IDF operation in Nablus, which resulted in the killing of six Palestinians, Haniyeh said that the fact that Hamas was preoccupied with forming the new cabinet did not mean that the movement has abandoned its pledge to "defend" the Palestinians.
"Our motto remains - one hand builds and the other resists," he said. "Hamas will defend its motto and the aggression of the occupation won't break our will."
Tayeb Abdel Rahim, a senior aid to PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, dismissed Haniyeh's remarks as inappropriate and denied that the PA had been paying $200,000 to one of its leaders.
"Such statements don't suit a man who has become a top official," Abdel Rahim said, referring to Haniyeh. "The Palestinian Finance Ministry has denied this allegation."
He also accused Hamas of waging a campaign designed to damage the reputation of senior PA officials. "These allegations will have a negative impact on future cooperation between Hamas and Fatah," he cautioned. "We call on Hamas to halt this rancorous mentality."