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As unrest grows, Hamas proposes controversial solution to unpaid public sector salaries

Israel/Palestine
on 23 Comments

Since Israel began withholding funds to the Gaza Strip following the Hamas victory in the 2006 Palestinian legislative election, the payment of Gaza public sector employees has been a bone of contention between the rival Palestinian parties and a driver of internal unrest in the Gaza Strip. Despite promises from the national consensus government, more than 50,000 government workers in Gaza have not received their regular salaries since early 2013. Now, as anger is rising, Hamas is proposing a solution that is already proving controversial.

Disastrous Impact

Along with the closure policy Israel maintains on the Gaza Strip, the salaries crisis has deteriorated economic and social conditions. Many workers in Gaza cannot repay their debts and experts warn of the negative political and social repercussions of the situation.

Sumaia Madi, works as a nurse in one of the government clinics in Gaza city, and feels that she and her peers, have been politically blackmailed and manipulated through the Palestinian political polarization. “I am a mother of five children whose lives are based on my work and what I should have earned from it to meet their essential needs,” Sumaia said, who instead of receiving her salary at the end of every month, receives a meager payment of less than $200 every three months.

Hussam Saied can’t pay his debts to the grocery store next to his home. “Wherever I meet [the store owner], he keeps asking me to repay my debts which have exceeded $900 so far,” Saied said. “This problem has turned my life into a living hell. I used to be a financially independent person, but things have got out of control making me socially and financially insecure person,” Saied added.

Moreover, the overall economic situation in Gaza is worsened by the unpaid salaries since this has decreased the overall purchasing power. In response, the investment sector is expected to be paralyzed as there is not sufficient public demand. Ahmed Khier ran three separate clothes shops in the past. Now he has closed down two of them as less customers come to knock on his doors. “My work has been severely curtailed, people can barely feed their children. Stylish clothes have become a luxury thing these days,” Khier said.

Hamas suggests a solution      

When Israel started withholding funds from Gaza Hamas government workers were denied their salaries, but the Palestinian Authority continued paying the salaries of its 70,000 workers who were no longer working. The contrast in policy between the two groups became a source of the internal tension in Gaza.  Thus, Hamas has been focused on finding a way to pay its government employees to mitigate the rise of the social and economic tension.

On November 22, Hamas Political Bureau member Ziad al-Zaza announced that public employees will receive their entitlements through land distribution, and their municipal and electricity debts will be reset.

Hamas said it conducted its own studies to test the feasibility of this proposal, though some politicians expressed doubt toward Hamas suggestion.

Ameera Deni, who works as a doctor in al Shifa hospital, was not happy with the solution. “The government should pay me the more than $30,000 I am owed, and instead they want to give me a piece of land in a remote area, what shall I do of it?!”, Deni asked.

On the other hand, Monna Suhail who works a janitor in the hospital was unclear what she thought about it. “I am exhausted, I want a solution at the end. Some people told me that I can resell it to earn money,” Suhail said.

Human Rights organizations based in Gaza welcomed the decision, and said all workers need to be reassured about their salaries very soon without prejudice based on political affiliations.

About Isra Saleh El-Namy

Isra Saleh El-Namy is a journalist in Gaza.

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23 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    December 14, 2015, 4:58 pm

    How about BITCOIN?

  2. Katie Miranda
    Katie Miranda
    December 14, 2015, 6:01 pm

    You mean what if Gaza changed to use just bitcoin ? That’s an interesting idea. I’m a proponent of people outside of Gaza hiring people in Gaza to do freelance work through the website upwork.com. There are many people on Upwork from Gaza who are looking for work.

  3. Citizen
    Citizen
    December 15, 2015, 7:06 am

    Where, exactly do the funds come from, and does Israel have the right to withhold funds from Gaza because a free election there in 2006 put HAMAS into power?

    • Susan A
      Susan A
      December 15, 2015, 11:02 am

      I’m sure they don’t have the right, but as in all other circumstances, they do it anyway.

      • Hummus
        Hummus
        April 15, 2016, 9:36 pm

        Actually Israel has a peace agreement with the PA where they collect custom taxes. Israel has no agreement with Hamas. Also, the PA can give some of the money from the taxes Israel collects for them to Gaza Hamas. Obviously that is not happening either. This is one thing that is not Israel’s fault.

      • talknic
        talknic
        April 16, 2016, 1:23 am

        @ Hummus April 15, 2016, 9:36 pm

        “Actually Israel has a peace agreement with the PA where they collect custom taxes.”

        Actually they have no ‘peace agreement’ with any Palestinian body.

        ARTICLE XIII
        FINAL CLAUSES

        4. The two Parties view the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as a single territorial unit, the integrity of which will be preserved during the interim period.

        5. The Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area shall continue to be an integral part of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The status of the West Bank shall not be changed for the period of this Agreement. Nothing in this Agreement shall be considered to change this status.

        6. The Preamble to this Agreement and the Annexes, Appendices and Schedules attached hereto, shall constitute an integral part hereof.

        http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/transfer_powers.asp

        Why do fools for the continued colonization of non-Israeli territories continually wade around in Ziopoop?

  4. MaxNarr
    MaxNarr
    December 15, 2015, 1:05 pm

    No mention of Egypt in this article. How can you blame Israel for the woes of the Hamas terror group when Egypt has been flooding the terror tunnels daily? Do they not deserve a mention?

    • eljay
      eljay
      December 15, 2015, 3:36 pm

      || MaxNarr: No mention of Egypt in this article. How can you blame Israel for the woes of the Hamas terror group when Egypt has been flooding the terror tunnels daily? Do they not deserve a mention? ||

      Egypt’s actions do not absolve Israel of its past and on-going (war) crimes or its obligations under international law any more than the actions of the accomplice absolve the rapist of his past and on-going crimes and his obligations under the law.

      It seems that an excuse does not exist which is so poor that a Zio-supremacist won’t use it to defend his and/or his co-collectivists’ past and on-going (war) criminal behaviour.

    • talknic
      talknic
      December 15, 2015, 7:47 pm

      @ MaxNarr “How can you blame Israel for the woes of the Hamas terror group when Egypt has been flooding the terror tunnels daily? “

      Oh? Egypt is flooding supply tunnels between Gaza and Egypt, NOT the so called ‘terror’ tunnels between Gaza and Israel.

      Say Max, why do morons for Israel call them ‘terror tunnels’ if none have actually been used for terror attacks?

      • Kay24
        Kay24
        December 15, 2015, 8:05 pm

        Talknic, every Palestinian man, woman, and child, are called “terrorist” whenever Israel justifies killing them, or wants to show the world it is a victim of occupied people. You are absolutely right, why call it “terror tunnels” when they have not been used to attack the zionists? It is time morons realized you hold people under siege, blockade them, and make them go through numerous check points, digging tunnels to ease the suffering, and have access to the outside world is the most natural thing to do.

      • MaxNarr
        MaxNarr
        December 15, 2015, 11:11 pm

        Interesting you say that because every Jewish “settler” in talknic’s is is ripe for murder. Check is chat history.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        December 16, 2015, 12:58 am

        “why do morons for Israel call them ‘terror tunnels’ if none have actually been used for terror attacks? ”

        Because the alliteration has a scary B-movie feel.

      • talknic
        talknic
        December 16, 2015, 2:09 am

        @ Kay24 ” … every Palestinian man, woman, and child and motorist who has an accident

      • talknic
        talknic
        December 16, 2015, 10:39 am

        @ MaxNarr ” because every Jewish “settler” in talknic’s is is ripe for murder.”

        The basic common sense tenets of Judaism frown on liars Max. That you continually lie on behalf o the ‘Jewish’ state is quite bizarre

        ” Check is chat history”

        Go ahead … provide some quotes

      • YoniFalic
        YoniFalic
        December 16, 2015, 10:45 am

        Racists like @MaxNarr, the settlers, and the vast majority of the invaders consider the native people to be רודפים from the standpoint of Jewish law and therefore liable to summary execution.

        It is all very similar to the treatment Klansmen meted out to African Americans from the end of the Civil War until WW2.

  5. olive52
    olive52
    December 16, 2015, 12:04 pm

    Perhaps if Hamas would agree to sell some of its weaponry, missiles, and guns and use the expertise that it squanders on building underground tunnels and put it to productive use for its people such as building infrastructure and assisting with poverty, it might change the situation a bit. Of course its always nice and convenient to blame Israel entirely, but how anyone is in denial that Hamas has squandered Palestinian money is beyond me.

    • Kris
      Kris
      December 16, 2015, 8:21 pm

      Seriously, Olive52?

      The most stupid thing Hamas could do is to waste money on infrastructure, since Israel would only destroy it ASAP. Between 2001 and 2011, Israel destroyed $66 million of humanitarian projects financed by the E.U.

      The European Commission has released a document that lists projects it funded that were destroyed or damaged by the Israeli military between May 2001 and October 2011.

      The list documents 82 such instances, amounting to a monetary loss of €49.2 million ($65.6 million), €30 million ($40 million) of which came directly from European aid.

      The list was made available to Chris Davies, a British member of the European Parliament, following his inquiry to the European Commission. Davies subsequently published the findings on his webpage where he stated that the list was “the most detailed response I have ever received from the European Commission.”

      The recently published record is yet another indicator of the disregard with which Israel treats its European allies’ activities in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. Last year, it was calculated that Israeli-imposed travel restrictions cost international aid organizations $4.5 million a year.https://electronicintifada.net/content/israel-causes-66-million-worth-damage-eu-funded-aid-projects/11130

      Since 2011, Israel’s attacks on Palestinians have grown even more destructive and vicious. During Israel’s attacks on Gaza in the summer of 2014, alone, Israel caused more than $8 billion dollars in damage.

      But you knew that already.

      • Hummus
        Hummus
        April 15, 2016, 9:43 pm

        Really? Israel can make Gaza into a wasteland in 2 hours if it was really into the business of destroying infrastructure. It is like shooting ducks in a barrel. The damage done is just side effect of going after rockets and tunnels. Israel considers Gaza a hell hole and will be glad NEVER to go there – unfortunately Hamas is always inviting Israel back.

        Don’t you find it surprising that Gaza still has electricity and water? if Israel really wanted to destroy infrastructure there would be none.

        If Hamas stops the rockets then no Infrastructure will be destroyed.

      • just
        just
        April 15, 2016, 10:18 pm

        Shift change at Hasbara Central (h/t James North).

        (youse guys and gals are pathetic, btw…)

      • eljay
        eljay
        April 15, 2016, 10:40 pm

        || Hummus: … Israel can make Gaza into a wasteland in 2 hours if it was really into the business of destroying infrastructure. It is like shooting ducks in a barrel. … ||

        Of course it is. But if Israel shot all the ducks, the game would be over and then Israel wouldn’t have any more fun. :-(

        || … If Hamas stops the rockets then no Infrastructure will be destroyed. ||

        So if Hamas fires rockets at Israel, Israel will continue to occupy and colonize Palestine, refuse to withdraw to within its / Partition borders, refuse to honour its obligations under international law (including RoR of refugees) and refuse to enter into sincere negotiations for a just and mutually-beneficial peace.

        But if Hamas stops firing rockets at Israel, Israel will…continue to occupy and colonize Palestine, refuse to withdraw to within its / Partition borders, refuse to honour its obligations under international law (including RoR of refugees) and refuse to enter into sincere negotiations for a just and mutually-beneficial peace.

        Interesting.

      • talknic
        talknic
        April 15, 2016, 11:21 pm

        @ Hummus April 15, 2016, 9:43 pm

        “The damage done is just side effect of going after rockets and tunnels.”

        Nonsense. https://www.google.com.au/search?q=Gaza+damage&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiQ2J2YmJLMAhXn5KYKHVlcD2IQ_AUIBygB&biw=1920&bih=926

        “Don’t you find it surprising that Gaza still has electricity and water?”

        “Israel, the Occupying Power” is responsible for the shortfall in essentials in territories occupied (GC IV Article 55 )

        “If Hamas stops the rockets then no Infrastructure will be destroyed”

        How odd. Israel was destroying infrastructure BEFORE Hamas came on the scene

        You must be either new here or maybe someone using a new abusername and starting the wholly holey Hasbara cycle over again

    • talknic
      talknic
      December 19, 2015, 5:22 am

      @ olive52 “… if Hamas would agree to sell some of its weaponry, missiles, and guns and use the expertise that it squanders on building underground tunnels and put it to productive use for its people such as building infrastructure and assisting with poverty, it might change the situation a bit. “

      Israel would allow them to export weapons? WOW!!!

      Say, who’s gonna buy home made rockets?

      BTW a concrete lined tunnel started near the former illegal Israeli settlement of Khan Younis where there was once an illegal Israeli settlement and came out near an IDF border post.

      Why would Hamas go to the huge expense of lining a tunnel with concrete if as Dr Eado Hecht a defence analyst and lecturer in military doctrine at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar Ilan University says, ” … infiltration tunnels are meant to be used at most once or twice …” http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28430298

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