“Issue of Pay for 2 Sets of Workers Tugs at Palestinian Pact”
The New York Times, June 27, 2014, p.A12
“Abu Raid al-Samouni, 46, a driver and office cleaner in the Foreign Ministry headquarters here, leaves for work before his 14 children wake up each morning, to avoid their pleas for spare change to buy candy. Like the other 42,000 workers hired while the militant Islamic group Hamas ran the Gaza government over the past seven years, Mr. Samouni has received only part of his $350 monthly salary since October; in April and May, there was no paycheck at all. Mustafa, 34, a security officer who spoke on the condition that his last name not be used for fear of reprisals, spent a recent afternoon smoking a water pipe in a beachside cafe as his three children swam in the Mediterranean Sea. Like the other 70,000 people employed by the Palestinian Authority in Gaza before Hamas wrested control of it, the political split means that he has continued to collect his full salary — $520 a month — without ever actually going to work. The tale of these two men illustrates a central dilemma facing the new Palestinian government rooted in the recent reconciliation deal intended to end the bitter schism between Hamas and the secular, more moderate Fatah faction that dominates the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority. … The Palestinian prime minister insists that he does not have enough money to pay both sets of workers and, perhaps more important, cannot risk the wrath of other countries by even funneling donated funds to anyone affiliated with Hamas. …the agreement Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organization signed in April left to a committee the problem of reconciling the two sets of workers, which several Palestinian officials acknowledge far exceed the number the government can afford to cover Gaza’s 1.7 million residents.”
Quickie Analysis: The devil is in the (bureaucratic) details. It would be a pity to see an historic reconciliation derailed by salaries.