The Gaza Post|The News of Palestine-Gaza
The recent decision of the Palestinian Authority (PA) consensus government in Ramallah to cut 30 percent of the monthly salaries of thousands of civil servants and former security officers in the Gaza Strip had on Wednesday outraged the coastal enclave’s populations.
The decision coincided with tens of thousands of civil servants and employees, who were totally shocked and outraged, when they went on Wednesday morning to receive their salaries for March from the cash withdrawal machines outside the banks allover the Gaza Strip and found out 30 percent cuts in their salaries.
Thousands of employees, their children and their wives demonstrated in Gaza city center against the Palestinian government decision issued during its weekly meeting held in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday. They called on the government to regret its decision which excluded the West Bank employees.
“The daily life and the economical situation in the Gaza Strip has been deteriorating over the past ten years, and cutting around one-third of our salaries would damage our life and increase our daily suffering besides the existing pain and poverty,” said Ahmad Ghanim, one of the employees said.
The employees gathered at the square of the Unknown Soldier in the city’s downtown in protest to the decision. They chanted slogans against the government of Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and called for regretting the decision and stop increasing the suffering of more than 2 million people live in the Gaza Strip.
“These salaries are not paid for us to enjoy or have fun, the money we receive every month is for our children, for their schools and universities and for their foods and medicines,” said another employee, who is a former security office that used to work in the police before Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007.
Spokesman of the Palestinian consensus government in Ramallah Yousef al-Mahmoud said Tuesday that the reason the government decided to make the cuts in the salaries of the employees “is because of the suffocating fiscal crisis the Palestinian (National) Authority is passing through.”
He stressed that this decision is not permanent and it could be changed and get back on track as soon as the PA passes its fiscal crisis. He justified the decision that it was made due to the fiscal siege that the international donors and Israel are imposing on the PA.
The cuts in the salaries had only targeted around 70,000 civil servants and former police and security officers in the Gaza Strip and excluded the employees in the West Bank and those who are living abroad. The PA had repeatedly announced that it passes through a severe fiscal crisis.
The consensus government decision was largely slammed by various activists and unions. Social media activists slammed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his Prime Minister Hamdallah for the decision that targeted the Gaza Strip which basically suffers from high rates of poverty and unemployment.
Senior leaders, activists and members in Abbas Fatah Party expressed deep outrage following the decision. Dozens of them announced that they decided to quit from the part on the light of the cuts decision. They called on the party’s high-ranking establishments to act in order to annul the decision.
Meanwhile, Islamic Hamas movement also slammed the decision of the consensus government that Hamas basically opposes. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in an emailed press statement that Hamas expresses full sympathy with the employees.
“Hamas movement calls on the government of Hamdallah and the authority of Abbas to regret their decision, cancel it and stop cutting 30 percent of the employees salaries,” said Barhoum, who warned that the decision “would mount the humanitarian crisis that was a result of an unfair siege imposed on Gaza.”
Various Palestinian left-wing parties in the Gaza Strip slammed the decision and called on the government to regret it and stop cutting 30 percent from the salaries of the employees in the coastal enclave.