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PA to pay Hamas employees in Gaza

Sept. 1, 2014 10:18 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 1, 2014 9:35 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority will pay Hamas civil servants in Gaza on Wednesday, ending a months-long salary crisis following the announcement of a unity government.

Senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouq said an agreement was reached between Hamas and PA officials on Sunday.

A row over pay erupted between the two Palestinian factions in June when the PA's Gaza-based staff received their wages but their Hamas counterparts went empty-handed.

Speaking about a ceasefire deal in Gaza, Abu Marzouq said that political decisions need to be made before reconstruction can take place, noting that an international conference to raise funds for Gaza will be held in Cairo in September.

The unity government will be in charge of the reconstruction process, he added.

The Hamas official said that the issue of the Rafah crossing was not discussed during ceasefire negotiations, adding that Egypt wants a third party, possibly PA forces, to take control of the terminal, which Hamas welcomes.

After Hamas civil servants failed to receive their salaries in June, gunmen attacked banks in Gaza, forcing Hamas to close them for six days.

It was then that Qatar -- a main Hamas ally -- intervened, saying it would contribute a total of $60 million.

The payments from Doha were then hit by the seven-week conflict between Hamas and Israel that broke out on July 8.

Each month, PA salaries cost around $200 million, $120 million of which is covered by taxes collected by Israel on behalf of the occupied Palestinian territory, he said.
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