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Palestinian emergency gov't pays salaries, Hamas affiliated excluded
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10:19, July 05, 2007

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The Ramallah-based Palestinian emergency government of Sallam Fayyad began on Wednesday paying wages to tens of thousands of civil and security servants through banks.

Thousands of employees stood in queues in front of ATM money machines of different banks in Gaza and the West Bank to take out the salary for June after Fayyad announced the payoff Wednesday.

Fayyad decided to pay the full-time civil and security employees after Israel transferred 118 million U.S. dollars of the frozen tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority last week.

However, his emergency government excluded 19,000 employees that were hired by the former Hamas-led government.

"I'm very glad that I received a full salary today," said Ahmed Ghannam, a 46-year-old employee from Gaza, adding that "We hope that this would continue and we would be able to get regular and full salaries every month."

Other employees were disappointed when they checked ATM money machines in Gaza City and found no salary.

"I don't know what to do now. This is not fair to pay some people and exclude others, we have enough suffering and enough poverty. Our leadership should find an immediate solution," said Hammam Sa'eed.

It is the first time that employees receive a full monthly salary since the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) won in the January 2006 legislative elections and formed its first ever government, which drew nothing but boycott from the world.

The estimated 170,000 employees of the Palestinian Authority have received only partial salaries since March 2006, owing to Israeli and Western economic boycotts slapped on successive administrations led by Hamas, considered a terror outfit by Israel and the West.

World donors and Israel imposed embargoes on the Hamas government formed in April last year and the national unity government which was set up thanks to the Mecca agreement reached between Hamas and its rival Fatah in February.

The boycott was eased after President Abbas sacked the Hamas- led government following the Islamists' bloody Gaza takeover and installed an emergency cabinet headed by internationally respected economist Salam Fayyad.

The Hamas movement in Gaza accused the government of Fayyad of carrying out political discrimination by barring thousands of people from getting their salaries only because they are affiliated with Hamas.

Ashraf el-Ajrami, a minister in Fayyad's government, justified the exclusion of part-time employees as saying "this act was an attempt to reorganize the system and the law of civil service."

"Within the last year and a half, many jobs had been offered to employees that their employment conditions contradict with the Palestinian law of public services," said al-Ajrami.

"All what we are going to do is to re-evaluate the situation and end the administrative chaos that dominated the institutions of the Palestinian Authority," said al-Ajrami.

Meanwhile, Ahmed Yousef, an advisor for the sacked Prime Minister and Hamas leader Ismail Haneya, said that the Fayyad government's decision to exclude 19,000 employees "would double the suffering that the Palestinians people have."

"The money of taxes revenues given by Israel is the right of every Palestinian. It was given to the Palestinian Authority in order to pay the salaries of every Palestinian civil or security servant regardless of their affiliations."

Yousef, however, said that "the national unity government of Hamas movement would exert every possible effort in order to pay the salaries of those were not able to receive it today."

Source: Xinhua

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