Gaza civil servant scuffle over salary dispute

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They may have a new unity government but it didn’t prevent simmering tensions between Palestinian factions erupting into scuffles in Gaza.

It came after the fledgling administration failed to pay long-overdue wages to civil servants hired by Hamas.

Officials closed banks and shut down cash machines as angry workers tried to withdraw money.

“The bank is closed today and as the cameras and press can see, police and security forces in the Gaza Strip are blockading the banks and preventing banks from opening their doors and allowing people to receive their salaries,” said Ziad Abu Shildeh, a Palestinian Authority civil servant.

Isamel Saleh, also a civil servant, added: “They’re closed and even though the salaries have arrived, they’re refusing to give them to us. We ask them ‘Why?! We want salaries just like you do.’ They say, ‘The agreement only happened yesterday. You will be paid next month.”

The government, just a few days old, says it hasn’t had enough time to process the wages. It is in talks with the staff to try to resolve the problem.

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