Palestinian Authority’s employees will receive half salaries by the beginning of next month, aid money Western and Arab countries have channeled through a special account by moderate Palestinian finance minister, Salam Afayad, said Palestinian and Western officials on Monday.
A total of $US 82, donated by the EU’s Norway, Saudi Arabia and Qattar, will start flowing later this week at a special account, governed by the PLO and Salam Fayad himself, the officials confirmed.
Following intensive talks with U.S and Western officials several weeks ago, Fayad could ensure partial payment to the PA’s workers, who have been cut off their salaries since the Islamist Hamas movement has taken power in March2006.
Fayad’s account, which bypasses the Hamas-led government, is controlled by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which signed peace accords with Israel in 1993.
In spite of having been paid half wages last month, the government workers consider these payments as incomplete, declaring a general strike is coming in protest of what they termed ‘deception by the current government’.
The major Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah, agreed on March to a national unity government for the purpose of lifting and economic embargo and ending their infighting.
Nevertheless, this government could neither lift the embargo nor put an end to ongoing intra-Palestinian fighting. The European Union only set a temporary assistance mechanism that partially funds the PA
With a poverty rate of %85, amidst a crippling internationally-imposed economic embargo, withholding by Israel of PA’s tax revenues money, 160,0000 PA workers are still suffering from the repercussions of both the embargo and the internal factional fighting.
The international Quartet for promoting peace in the Middle East (United States, United Nations, European Union, Russia) is still demanding the now Hamas-Fatah coalition to recognize Israel, renounce violence and accept past signed agreements before it wins recognition.