Palestinian government employees loyal to president get salaries after 17 months
Palestinian government employees loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday stood in long lines outside banks in Gaza Strip to collect their first full salaries in 13 months. The salary payments were a boost to Abbas in his power struggle with Hamas, which took control of Gaza Strip last month.
During 13 months of Hamas rule, the 165,000 government employees, half of them members of security forces, had only received sporadic, partial payments because of an international aid boycott on the Islamic movement.
Following the Gaza takeover, Western aid and Israeli tax transfers were renewed to the Palestinian government appointed by Abbas.
There are 55,000 government employees in the Gaza Strip. In all, about 19,000 civil servants in Gaza and the West Bank will not be paid, among them 12,000 hired by Hamas in the past year, according to Abbas aides.
Meanwhile, in the West Bank, where Fatah faction is dominant, lines at the banks were thinner. "The salaries are in the [employees'] accounts, but they are at work," said a bank official, according to Reuters.
Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, overseeing the payments, said 133,000 Palestinian Authority workers received wages.