PA workers in Gaza protest salary cuts by Ramallah govt

Resistance groups blast move, warn of ‘catastrophic consequences’

PA workers in Gaza protest salary cuts by Ramallah govt

World Bulletin / News Desk

 Dozens of Palestinian Authority (PA) employees in the blockaded Gaza Strip staged a demonstration in Gaza City on Wednesday to protest a reduction of their salaries by the Ramallah-based Palestinian government.

At the protest, which was organized by the Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (which leads the PA), participants held banners aloft condemning the move.

"This salary reduction is a crime; it’s piracy committed against PA employees in Gaza," protester and PA employee Khalil al-Shakhasi told Anadolu Agency.

"We want a clear answer from President Abbas regarding the reasons for the move," he added, going on to ask: “Why now?”

"Gaza continues to suffer the effects of three Israeli wars of aggression," al-Shakhasi said. “This salary cut comes amid mounting external pressure to tighten Israel’s ongoing siege on Gaza."

“We will escalate the situation further if the government [in Ramallah] fails to reverse its decision,” he warned.

On Tuesday evening, PA employees in the Gaza Strip found their March salaries had been reduced by the Ramallah-based government by some 30 percent.

The government, for its part, has hastened to say that the move was only "temporary".

In a statement issued late Tuesday, government spokesman Yusuf al-Mahmoud said the reductions had only effected employees’ bonuses “and not basic salaries”.

He went on to attribute the move to "factors related to the restrictive financial blockade imposed [by Israel] on the State of Palestine”.

‘Catastrophic’

Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, which has governed the Gaza Strip since 2007, described the move by the Ramallah government as “arbitrary and irresponsible”.

"This decision is intended to aggravate crises in the Gaza Strip and wear down the Gazan people’s steadfastness," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a Wednesday statement.

"Hamas voices its solidarity with all PA employees without exception," he added.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), for its part, likewise condemned the move, warning of "potentially catastrophic repercussions".

In a statement released late Tuesday, the PFLP described the decision as a “financial massacre” perpetrated against the people of Gaza.

The move, the group went on to warn, “will further destabilize Gaza by augmenting the suffering of its people”.

The PFLP, too, urged the Ramallah government to “immediately reverse the decision”.

Within the same context, the Palestinian NGOs Network -- which includes more than 130 Palestinian civil-society groups -- called on the Ramallah government to reverse its “unfair” decision.

“This unfair decision harms large segments of the Gaza Strip’s [PA] employees, who already suffer from high rates of poverty and unemployment -- and the deterioration of living standards -- as a result of [Israel’s] decade-long blockade," the network said in a Wednesday statement. 

Since 2007, the Gaza Strip has groaned under a crippling Israeli/Egyptian blockade that has deprived its roughly two million inhabitants of basic commodities and effectively destroyed its economy.

In 2014, Hamas and Fatah -- which govern the Gaza Strip and the West Bank respectively -- agreed to establish a unity government.

The so-called unity government, however, has failed to assume a governing role in Gaza due to outstanding differences between the two Palestinian factions.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 05 Nisan 2017, 20:16
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