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Gaza salary crisis unresolved as banks remain closed

June 9, 2014 3:27 P.M. (Updated: June 11, 2014 10:13 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Banks in the Gaza Strip remained closed on Monday as a crisis which began last week over salaries continues to challenge the newly formed unity government.

The crisis began on Wednesday as thousands of civil servants rushed to ATM machines to receive their salaries.

Hamas employees of the former government were angered to find out they had not been paid, with Hamas-affiliated police officers preventing other PA employees from collecting their wages.

On Monday, hundreds of PA employees gathered near the Bank of Palestine in Gaza City to protest against not being unable to withdraw their salaries.

Gaza police have deployed around banks and ATM machines to prevent non-Hamas affiliated employees from retrieving their salaries until a solution is worked out.

In a press conference in front of the Bank of Palestine in Gaza City, union official Muhammad Siyam blamed Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah for the "tense atmosphere" in Gaza.

Another senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya said Monday that the new government had discriminated between employees and citizens and must "stop hesitating" and give orders for the Ramallah government to pay Gaza employees.

Union official Muhammad al-Nahhal said Hamdallah had failed to properly manage the issue of salaries.

Since the political division between Hamas and Fatah began in 2007, Hamas ran a separate government in the Gaza Strip with its own civil service.

During this time, however, the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority has continued paying its employees in the Gaza Strip, despite the fact that the PA was no longer operative.
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