Some 6,145 Palestinian civil servants from Gaza are being given early retirement, Quds Press reported the Palestinian Authority announcing yesterday.
In a statement, the PA spokesman Yousif Al-Mahmoud said the decision as well as "previous procedures and any possible future procedures in this regard" were only temporary moves seeking to pressure Hamas, the de facto ruling party in Gaza, into relinquishing its control over the small coastal enclave and reconciling with the PA.
Hamas has been the de facto ruler of the Gaza Strip since 2007 after it won an overall majority in the general elections in 2006. Since it took control of the Strip Israel has imposed a stifling siege on the enclave. Egypt and the PA have further exacerbated the situation for Gazans by closing crossings, reducing pay to Gaza employees and reducing the power supply to the small coastal strip.
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Speaking to Quds Press, head of the union of PA employees in Gaza, Aref Abu Jarad, called the decision "oppressive", warning that similar action may be taken against all employees in the future.
"This decision is rejected from all sides," he said, "from the financial, social and political sides."