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(photo credit: AP)
Ramallah - At least 40,000 Palestinian Authority civil servants are expected to receive one month's salary on Monday, PA Finance Minister Omar Abdel Razek announced on Saturday.
This would be the first time that civil servants are paid their salaries since Hamas formed its new cabinet about three months ago.
The PA has about 160,000 civil servants on its payroll, but only those whose salaries are less than 1,500 Shekels per month will be paid on Monday, Abdel Razek told reporters here.
He said the employees would be able to draw their salaries through banks in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with the exception of the Arab Bank which he said "has legal problems" with the US.
The decision means that the PA would pay some $13 million - a figure totaling 11 percent of one month's $120 payroll.
According to the minister, the money will be taken from the $25 - $30 million in local revenues that the PA collects each month. He did not say when the rest of the employees would receive their salaries.
Asked if Iran had fulfilled its promise to provide financial aid to the PA, Abdel Razek replied: "This pledge remains part of the promises we have received. The main problem is how to transfer money from Arab and Islamic countries to local banks."
The decision to pay the 40,000 civil servants comes amid growing tensions between Fatah and Hamas over a controversial "national reconciliation" document drafted by leaders of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
It also follows street protests by the civil servants, including members of the PA security forces who on Friday went on the rampage in Gaza City, smashing windows and furniture at the offices of the Palestinian Legislative Council.