Haniyeh, Abbas meet to discuss policy

Hundreds of Palestinians demand Hamas gov't pay their overdue salaries.

haniyeh abbas 298 (photo credit: AP)
haniyeh abbas 298
(photo credit: AP)
In one of the first public signs of discontent with the Hamas leadership since it took office in March, hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated Saturday to demand the Hamas-run government pay long overdue salaries to public workers. "No to hunger, yes to Palestinian unity," read several banners in the rally, which was attended mostly by members of the opposition Fatah party. "When I pray to God I remember my debts because I owe to this shop and that grocery store and the school and for transportation," Sheikh Majed Dwikat, a local religious leader, said in a speech. "This government, if it can't continue, has to think carefully about its people and change its political way of thinking." "The whole world must hear us," said Shaher Saad, the leader of a Nablus labor union. "It's not acceptable that people will work and not get money. Our lives are too hard for this." In the wake of Saturday's protests, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas was meeting Saturday night with PA President Mahmoud Abbas to try to iron out growing differences of the division of power and relations with the international community. Haniyeh has complained that Abbas has stripped the government of many of its powers. Abbas, in turn, wants Hamas to soften its hard line. The meeting comes at a time of growing a financial crisis resulting from bruising economic sanctions by the West. Abbas is expected to urge Haniyeh to accept United Nations resolutions regarding the Middle East crisis, including Israel's right to exist, so as to end international sanctions against the Hamas cabinet. In addition, Abbas will demand that the cabinet dismantle the new Hamas security force established in the Gaza Strip by Interior Minister Said Siam.