Hamas official denies there’s a money crisis

Fayyad attends Arab League emergency meeting in Cairo, asks for immediate assistance.

Hamas policemen Palestinian Gaza protes_311 (photo credit: Reuters)
Hamas policemen Palestinian Gaza protes_311
(photo credit: Reuters)
Hamas is facing a financial crunch and, like the Palestinian Authority, has not been able to pay full salaries to its civil servants in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas legislator Yahya Musa called on the Hamas government to “be frank with the people and tell them the truth about the financial situation.” Musa expressed concern over the Hamas government’s failure to pay full salaries to its employees for the last few months.
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“If there’s a financial crisis, then the government should say so,” Musa said. “And if there isn’t a crisis, the government should quickly pay full salaries to all its workers.”
Sources in the Gaza Strip said that because of the financial crisis, the Hamas government has in recent months paid only half salaries to its employees.
Ismail Mahfouz, a senior official with the Hamas-run Ministry of Finance, denied that his government was facing a financial crisis.
He said the delay in paying the salaries was due to lack of cash in the hands of the government.
Mahfouz promised that the Hamas government would pay all its debts to the civil servants by the end of the week.
Meanwhile, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad arrived in Cairo on Tuesday to attend an emergency meeting of the Arab League to discuss the financial crisis in the PA.
The meeting is being held at the request of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who has urged the Arab countries to fulfill their financial pledges to the Palestinians.
The Fayyad government has paid only half salaries to its 150,000 civil servants for June after complaining that Western donors and most of the Arab countries have failed to transfer promised funds to the PA’s coffers.
Fayyad told the Arab League representatives that his government was in need of $300 million to overcome the current crisis.
He said that since the beginning of the year, the PA received only $331m. and $79m. of this amount came from the Arab countries.
At the end of the meeting, the Arab League representatives urged the Arab countries to meet their financial commitments to the PA to help it overcome the crisis.
Also Tuesday, Abbas discussed the financial crisis in the PA with Catherine Ashton, the EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy.