Palestinian Authority employees in the Gaza Strip went on strike on Monday, paralysing all ministries, government offices, schools and hospitals, Quds Press has reported. The Syndicate [Union] of Palestinian Employees in Gaza organised the strike which, it said, aimed to send a message to the government in Ramallah led by Rami Hamdallah.
According to the Syndicate, Hamdallah’s PA has been ignoring the rights of those employees who were recruited after June 2007. That’s when Hamas ended a year of security chaos and swept Fatah, which refused to recognise the Islamic Resistance Movement’s victory in the free and fair 2006 elections, out of Gaza.
Last October, Egypt brokered a reconciliation deal between Hamas, which has been running Gaza, and Fatah, which has been running the Palestinian Authority government in the West Bank. The terms of the agreement stipulated that the Ramallah-based PA must pay the salaries of Gaza employees and Hamas must hand over control of government offices in Gaza, including access to tax revenues.
Hamas duly handed the offices over to the PA without delay, but the authority refused to recognise the Gaza employees and did not pay their salaries. Furthermore, the PA in Ramallah has been refusing to lift its punitive measures imposed on the Palestinians in Gaza. In response, Hamas withheld part of the tax revenues and the fees for government services in the territory and made small payments to the employees.
“Employees who do not receive their salaries have the right to protest,” insisted Ihab Al-Nahhal, the coordinator of the Popular Committee in Support of Gaza Employees. “All promises made by Fatah in the Cairo deal and the pledges made by the PA government have not been fulfilled.” He noted that the promise about employees’ pay should have been fulfilled at the beginning of February.