PA official: Salary payments to be delayed

The Palestinian Authority will delay paying the January salaries of 137,000 government employees for at least two weeks because of a severe post-election budget crunch, a senior Palestinian official said Thursday. The Palestinian Authority needs US$116 million to cover the monthly payroll. After the election victory of the Islamic militant Hamas last week, Israel said it was suspending its monthly tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority, worth about US$45 million dollars, pending further review. The Palestinian official is involved in negotiations with donor countries for aid money. He spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks on getting alternative funding are continuing.