Qatar eases wage disaster for Gaza’s civil servants

Feb 19, 2021

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Qatar’s Ambassador to the Palestinian territories Mohammed al-Emadi revealed in a press assertion Feb. 14 that Qatar has agreed to extend its contribution to the salaries of the Hamas-appointed authorities workers within the Gaza Strip from $7 million to $10 million a month.

The contribution is a part of the $360 million grant to the Gaza Strip introduced by Qatar Jan. 31, solely two weeks following a presidential decree to carry Palestinian legislative and presidential elections, in addition to to vote for the Palestinian Nationwide Council.

Since its victory within the 2006 elections and its subsequent management of the Gaza Strip in 2007, the Hamas motion has been struggling an acute monetary disaster beneath the Israeli siege. This has prevented the motion from paying its 50,000 workers full salaries. As a substitute, the staff solely get hold of an advance fee of 40% to 50% of their month-to-month salaries. 

The staff’ salaries concern has been on prime of the agenda of the inter-Palestinian talks between Fatah and Hamas, and the a number of negotiations rounds held within the wake of each navy escalation between Israel and Hamas.

Qatar has helped defuse the Hamas-Israeli escalation by political efforts and monetary support.

The Hamas-appointed workers continued to obtain half of their salaries for 14 years, prompting them to provoke a social media marketing campaign in January claiming their monetary dues. That has pushed Hamas and its allies, notably Qatar, to take motion to safe the cash and pay the staff out of concern of dropping their votes within the legislative elections scheduled for Might.

On Feb. 14, the Hamas-run Finance Ministry in Gaza started paying every worker $130 as a part of the dues amassed through the years — along with their month-to-month advance fee. The transfer has briefly calmed the anger of the staff.

An official at Gaza’s Finance Ministry instructed Al-Monitor on situation of anonymity that the Gaza workers’ dues exceed $1.2 billion amassed through the years, and that the ministry is barely in a position to safe half of the staff’ month-to-month pays, in gentle of the monetary and financial siege and declining state revenues as a result of coronavirus disaster.

The supply mentioned there are ongoing talks with Qatar in order to assist resolve the ministry’s monetary disaster, extra exactly the staff’ dues, and that the talks have thus far resulted in Qatar offering a month-to-month sum of $10 million as a contribution to resolve the issue.

He famous that Qatar’s contribution to the fee of the staff’ salaries will proceed for a yr, and expressed hope that the continued efforts consequence within the workers acquiring the cash they’re owed. 

Khalil Hmedeh, former spokesman for the Gaza Public Workers Union, instructed Al-Monitor, “The official Palestinian establishments and the factions that not too long ago held talks in Cairo ought to place the difficulty of the staff’ salaries on the prime of the agenda.” He mentioned that the union held talks with the Finance Ministry for a rise within the pay and disbursement of a minimum of part of the dues, however no outcomes had been achieved.

Qatar’s help for Hamas shouldn’t be solely restricted to funds. Doha has met Hamas’ requests to mediate with Riyadh with the purpose to launch dozens of Palestinian detainees held in Saudi Arabia, together with Mohammed al-Khodari, 81, a former consultant of Hamas in Saudi Arabia, and his son, Hani al-Khodari.

Hamas’ request got here after the Gulf reconciliation was introduced in early January, which Hamas welcomed then.

Abdul Majid al-Khodari, the brother of Mohammed al-Khodari, pinned hopes on the efforts of Qatar and different events — which he didn’t title — to safe the discharge of Palestinian detainees in Saudi Arabia.

He instructed Al-Monitor that the household has not acquired any updates but, and identified that his sister-in-law contacts his brother in detention by cellphone and visits him as soon as each two months. He quoted her as saying that her husband’s well being has deteriorated.

By offering monetary and political incentives to Hamas, Qatar seeks to push the motion to exert extra efforts in an effort to finish the Palestinian inner divide and run within the normal elections. Emadi had mentioned in a Feb. 13 assertion, “We’re in favor of the Palestinian nationwide dialogue that will result in unity and concord, in addition to holding free elections that will strengthen the Palestinian individuals’s alternative of democracy.”

Head of Hamas’ political bureau Ismail Haniyeh delivered Feb. 14 a message to each Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressing the upcoming elections and the necessity to work with the worldwide neighborhood to respect the voting end result.

Talal Okal, political analyst and author on the Palestinian Al-Ayyam newspaper, instructed Al-Monitor that Qatar’s monetary and political help is designed to encourage Hamas to run within the varied Palestinian elections and be part of the political course of, as a substitute of launching navy operations towards Israel.

He believes that the Qatari coverage towards Hamas is designed to merge the motion into the Arab political system, and to strain the motion to surrender its ideological hostility towards Israel.

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