Mukataa, the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority, is seen in this aerial view of the West Bank city of Ramallah.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hundreds of Palestinian Authority employees in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday protested the PA government’s decision to cut their salaries by approximately 30%.
After Hamas took over Gaza in 2007, the PA ordered some 50,000 of its employees there not to report to work.
Most did not return to work in the Hamas-controlled government institutions and have continued to receive salaries from the PA.
“Salaries are a redline,” a sign held by a protester said.
PA government spokesman Yousif Mahmoud told Wafa, the official PA news site, on Tuesday that “the government was forced to take this measure” in light of major decreases in foreign aid.
Mahmoud said that foreign aid to the PA has decreased by 70% over the past several years.
Some Fatah officials on Wednesday made rare criticisms of the Fatah-dominated PA.
Rouhi Fatouh, a Fatah Central Committee member, said the way the salary cuts were made was unfair.
“We realize that there is a financial crisis facing the PA…, but the cuts should have been made to everyone’s salaries everywhere, without discrimination,” Fatouh, who hails from Gaza, said in a statement.
The PA did not make cuts to the salaries of employees in the West Bank.
Top Fatah and PLO official Zakaria al-Agha said the decision to reduce PA employees’ salaries was a mistake and should be rescinded, according to Amad, a Palestinian news site.
In previous reconciliation talks, Fatah and Hamas discussed the possible return of PA employees in Gaza to work, but failed to reach an agreement on the issue.
The Fatah Central Committee is expected to discuss the salary cuts at a meeting in Ramallah on Saturday.