The Palestinian Authority (PA) has announced that it is cutting salaries to state employees in Gaza, while at the same time allowing the salaries it pays to prisoners convicted of terror offences to continue.
Earlier this month, thousands of PA employees in Gaza protested the 30% cut in their salaries. Some 60,000 public workers and officials in the Gaza Strip receive salaries from the Ramallah government.
The PA’s decision to cut the salaries to state workers in Gaza comes at a time of deepening economic crisis, and escalating tensions with the Hamas terror group governing the Gaza Strip.
Director of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Karake announced the decision on Wednesday, according to Palestinian reports.
Palestinian news agency Donia Al-Watan reported that Mr Karake “said in an exclusive statement… that the cuts approved by the [PA] Palestinian government to the salaries of the state employees in Gaza will not harm the released prisoners or the prisoners in the Israeli occupation’s prisons”.
The UK and several other countries, including the US and Israel, have condemned the PA’s policy of paying salaries to terrorist prisoners.
The PA leadership continues to defend its policy of rewarding of paying salaries to the prisoners. Earlier this month, Spokesman for the PLO Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners’ Affairs Hassan Abd Rabbo, according to Gaza’s Ma’an news agency, “emphasised… that it is the right of all of the prisoners and Martyrs who have struggled and sacrificed for Palestine to receive their full salaries from the PA”.
The PA earlier this week also announced that it will stop paying Israel for the electricity supplied to the Gaza Strip.
Advisers to PA President Mahmoud Abbas told reporters that the PA is expected to present Hamas with an ultimatum in the coming days to either surrender control of the Gaza Strip to the PA’s government, or it will stop the transfer of all funds to Gaza.
Gaza has been controlled by the terror group Hamas since 2007, who carried out a violent war against Fatah to take absolute control of the Strip, following elections in 2006 which Hamas won.