Qatar To Bail Out Palestinian Unity Government
Qatar has agreed to pay the June salaries of public sector workers in Gaza, a move that helps protect the newly-formed Fatah-Hamas unity government from possible Western backlash of withholding financial aid.
The announcement, made by Hamas deputy leader Moussa Abu Marzouk, comes after Hamas and Fatah agreed that all public sector worker salaries would be guaranteed, regardless of political affiliation.
The number of public sector workers has jumped to 210,000, of which 40,000 were hired during the period that Hamas was controlling Gaza.
The Qatari move buffers the new unity government from a possible bi-partisan effort in the U.S. Congress to stop funding the Palestinian Authority. An effort spearheaded by New York congresswoman Nita Lowey would use anti-terror laws to cut off the US$500,000 in financial aid the Palestinians receive annually.
Hamas has argued all American aid to the Palestinian Authority should end because of the influence it brings.
Qatar has helped out Palestinians in the past. In 2012, the country gave US$250 million was given to build a hospital and homes in Gaza, and pledged nearly another quarter of a billion of dollars. Other financial efforts have rebuilt a power plant destroyed by conflict.
The Arab League has also pledged to transfer a monthly sum of US$100 million for a “financial safety net” to the PA.