Palestinian Authority Says Hamas Must Cede Some of Its Authority in Gaza to Solve Salary Spat

Officials of President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party say a delegation will visit Gaza in the coming days to try to resolve the crisis that has brought thousands of Gazans onto the streets

Gazans demonstrate against pay cuts ordered by the Palestinian Authority government in Ramallah, April 9, 2017.
AFP / Mahmud Hams

Hamas will have to relinquish some of its authority in the Gaza Strip if employees paid by the Palestinian Authority there wish to avert a 30 percent pay cut, Palestinian Prime Minister Ram Hamdallah said Monday.

On Saturday, tens of thousands of PA employees and their families demonstrated against the pay cut, which President Mahmoud Abbas’ PA now says is designed to get Hamas to cede some of its power, not just to adjust to budget shortfalls. Hamas took over Gaza a decade ago after violent clashes with Abbas’ Fatah party.

Fatah officials say a delegation from Ramallah in the West Bank will visit the Strip in the coming days in an attempt to resolve the crisis.

In Gaza, about 60,000 people are paid directly by the PA government in Ramallah. Last week PA spokesman Yusuf el-Mahmoud said the pay cut was not punitive or political, but was merely a function of foreign aid that had decreased by 70 percent.

The PA accuses Hamas of controlling Gaza’s revenue sources, with only a tiny amount of the tax take going to the PA.

Abbas wants Hamas to dissolve the administration recently set up to manage affairs in the Strip. He also wants the PA to control the border crossings and government offices, and to help establish a unity government that would prepare elections for parliament and the presidency.

Hamas, for its part, has accused Abbas and the PA of seeking more control in Gaza than it deserved, adding that the salary cut was punitive, not due to a financial crisis.