TEL AVIV – The Palestinian Authority has decided to freeze salary payments to tens of thousands of its employees in Gaza.
More than 50,000 administrative workers and security officers have been unable to pursue their duties since Hamas took over the Strip in 2007, although they have remained on the PA’s payroll.
PA government spokesperson Youssef Almahmoud said that “the decision to halt payments was a result of the ongoing embargo on the State of Palestine as well as the split in the Palestinian leadership and the horrible measures of the occupation.”
The decision is temporary, he said. “The international aid to the PA has been reduced by 70 percent. It’s part of the orchestrated campaign to pressure the Palestinian leadership,” he claimed, adding, “there are some countries that wish to change PA policy.”
He castigated Hamas’ appointment of a so-called shadow government in Gaza, which he called “an uprising against the central government. They set up a government and levy taxes that should go to the Palestinian Authority government.”
In the wake of the Hamas move, Fatah officials called for retribution.
Others resigned from membership in Fatah institutions, and Mohammed Dahlan, President Mahmoud Abbas’ main rival in the movement, said the decision was a “crime” that would further deepen divisions.
A senior PA official told Breitbart Jerusalem that “the PA suffers from a grave financial crisis, but this dramatic measure is meant to send Hamas a message that it won’t be able to increase the divisions and get away with it. The PA will no longer have thousands of unemployed bureaucrats on its payroll. Hamas can pay their salaries. As far as we’re concerned, they can hire them for their own functions – but that’s impossible because Hamas has already hired tens of thousands of its own loyalists. They can’t expect us to continue to support the Strip without having a say.”
Also, he said, “Mohammed Dahlan should stop using it as a stick to bash the PA. If he wants to create pockets of resistance to the legitimate Palestinian leadership among its employees in Gaza, he should take care of them himself and lobby the leaders and countries he’s in relation with to pay their salaries, if he’s so worried for them.”