Thursday, thousands of Palestinian security men fired off automatic rifles at the parliament building in Gaza city and smashed the windows protesting their unpaid wages since Hamas took office in March after winning the January 2006 legislative elections.
The protesters slammed a plan by the Palestinian Prime Minister and a senior leader in Hamas, Ismail Haniyya, who stated that the government will pay partial salary payments to the lowest paid workers in the Palestinian Authority (P.A) in the next few days.
Some protesters climbed onto the roof of parliament in Gaza and smashed several windows.
Most of the protesters are loyal to Fateh movement, headed by the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
After attacking the parliament building, the protesters made their way to the home of Abbas in Gaza and rallied in his support.
The Hamas-led Palestinian government has been unable to pay salaries for three months to 165,000 government employees after the United States and other western countries imposed sanctions against the Palestinian government.
Israel and the United States demand Hamas to recognize the State of Israel, disarm, and accept the signed peace deals, while Hamas said that it will not recognize Israel, disarm and accept interim peace accords as long as the Israeli occupation prevails.
The embargo and boycott of the PA government has deepened a humanitarian crisis in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
On Tuesday, Haniyya pledged that the P.A will pay a full month’s wages to 40,000 employees whose monthly salaries were less that 1500 News Israeli Shekels (NIS).
Haniyya also pledged that the government will pay each of the other 125.000 government employees who earn higher salaries an advance sum of 1500 NIS.
One of that banners stuck to the gate of the parliament reads; “1500 are not enough to pay debts, buy milk and diapers”.
On Wednesday a senior UN official said that international proposals to pay only some of the salaries of Palestinian employees, mainly health sector, could fuel tension in the area unless the main donors agree to expand the proposals to pay other departments and the security forces.
The U.S and Israel still oppose paying salaries to government workers, while the UN said that it is weighing a proposal to initially pay “allowances” to health workers and possibly employees of the social sector.
UN special envoy for the Middle East peace process, Alvaro de Soto, said during an interview with Reuters on Wednesday that the “[proposal] could be flexible”.
He added that he dreads the consequences of paying some workers and leaving the others unpaid.