Qatar's Emir and Ismail Haniyeh 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The first crisis facing the Palestinian unity government was apparently solved over the weekend as Qatar pledged to pay salaries of thousands of Hamas public servants in the Gaza Strip.
Unlike their Palestinian Authority colleagues, the Hamas employees did not receive their May salaries from the unity government, which is headed by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah of Fatah.
Enraged, Hamas employees on Thursday attacked several banks in the Gaza Strip after discovering that the unity government had failed to pay their salaries.
The employees attacked PA civil servants and prevented them from receiving their salaries from the banks.
The controversy over the salaries triggered a severe crisis between Fatah and Hamas.
Fatah officials accused Hamas “gangs” and “militias” of assaulting PA employees and banks.
Hamas accused the Hamdallah government and Fatah of deception with regards to the status of Hamas civil servants in light of the formation of the unity government.
On Saturday, Yusef al-Kayali, a senior Hamas official, announced that Qatar has agreed to cover the costs of the salaries of the Hamas employees. He said that the employees would receive their wages as soon as Qatar transfers the money.
Qatar’s intervention in the crisis came after Ismail Haniyeh, the former Hamas prime minister, phoned Qatari ruler Tamim bin Hamad and pleaded with him to pay the salaries.
Musa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas official, said the newly formed unity government represents all Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
There should be no discrimination between civil servants in the two areas, he said.
“This is not a Fatah government,” Abu Marzouk said. “It should assume its responsibilities toward all Palestinians.”
Hamdallah announced on Saturday that his government was facing as severe financial crisis. He said that he was planning to visit a number of Arab countries soon to urge them to fulfill their previous promises to provide his government with financial aid.