Doha to pay salaries of ex-Hamas employees
RAMALLAH: Qatar is stepping in temporarily to help the new Palestinian unity government pay former employees of Hamas’s disbanded Gaza government, an official said Friday.
The Gulf state said it would contribute a total of $60 million while the Palestinian Authority grapples with a pay row, the first challenge for a government formed to try to end years of Palestinian rivalry.
Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah “received a phone call from the Qatari Prime Minister (Sheikh Abdullah bin Naser bin Khalifa Al-Thani), who told him that $20 million would be transferred each month for three months to pay Gaza employees,” government spokesman Ihab Bseiso said in a statement.
The money would go to the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, Bseiso said, and a “special fund” would be set up to pay wages while the government discussed how to resolve the issue. The PA has so far refused to pay Hamas’s 50,000 civil servants, who are not registered as its employees because they were appointed after Hamas ousted bitter rivals Fatah from Gaza in 2007.
Former Hamas premier Ismail Haniya, who resigned after the unity government was formed last week, phoned Qatar’s emir on June 5, when the dispute arose, to ask for his help in supporting the new government.
The Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, then “promised to help,” particularly with paying the salaries of employees, a Hamas statement said.