Palestinians cope with salary delay

Tens of thousands of Palestinian civil servants have not been paid in several months due to a financial embargo slapped on the Palestinian government in the wake of Hamas's victory in the Palestinian Legislative Council elections in January.

    Palestinians have protested against the aid cut and siege

    The US, Israel, Canada and the European Union, initiated a financial embargo once Hamas took office, denying it donor funds and tax revenues and branding the Islamic resistance movement a terrorist organisation.

    Government salaries had been heavily reliant on international aid and donations. spoke to several Palestinians in Gaza about how they are making ends meet given the financial challenges.

    Sami Abu-Ubaid, 32, physician, father of two, Gaza City

    I have not received my salary in three months. My hopes of being paid have dimmed because our salaries are related to the political situation.

    Abu-Ubaid: We have suffered a
    lot, nothing new if we suffer now

    The rise of the Hamas Islamic movement to power resulted in the delay of salaries. Strong external pressures are being applied on the new government to change the basic Palestinian principle of resistance to occupation.

    But I think that this will only succeed in increasing support for the Hamas government.

    How do I cope? I have been forced to practise a policy of asceticism. I have exhausted my savings and am borrowing money from relatives. I only buy the necessary needs for my family.

    I feel that there is a kind of social solidarity.

    The shop owners don't ask us to pay the debts and when you ask any rich man for money, he doesn't hesitate to give.

    I don't think that anyone will die of hunger. Palestinians have suffered a lot, so nothing new if they suffer this time.

    Hassan Abul-Khair, 27, teacher, father of two, Rafah

    It is not only my family in Rafah that is suffering because of the loss of wages but also my sister who lives in a refugee camp in Jordan.

    My brothers and I used to collect a sum of money, monthly, to send to her.

    Abul-Khair: People prefer to
    starve than bow to the occupier

    I am sure that the problem isn't with the new government, but with the US and Israel which have imposed an oppressive siege against it.

    The US and Israel want the Palestinians to denounce their government, but this will not happen.

    I feel that people have become more and more loyal to the new government.

    As for how I am coping, I borrow money from my acquaintances and relatives.

    I expect that we will be paid in the near future as the siege has started to crack.

    I don't expect that the government will fall as people behind it prefer to starve rather than bow to the occupier.

    Iman Mohaisen, 37, housekeeping trainer, mother of three, Shejaea

    I am currently forced to borrow money because of the delay in receiving my salary.

    I hope to get it in the near future, but I have noticed that the situation is worsening.

    Mohaisen: I hold the US and EU
    responsible for the bad situation

    I don't put the blame for this bad situation on the new government, but on the US and EU which imposed the siege on us, as well as on the Arab leaders who cannot do anything for us.

    I urge the Palestinian government not to bury its head in the sand but to look at the plight of the people.

    It must do something for its people, but not recognise Israel.

    I appeal to the Arab leaders and all the noble people of the world to do their best to end the ruinous siege imposed on us.

    aed Abul-Ata, 41, captain in the National Security Service, father of six, Gaza City

    My savings ran out and the grocer from whom I make my purchases has become less flexible.

    I borrow money from my brother, who is a trader, for all the essentials necessary to get by.

    Abul-Ata: I can live in hunger
    provided Hamas improves lives

    I am not hopeful regarding salaries.

    I don't expect to be paid before December next year.

    This problem has been created because of the international siege imposed by the US, Israel and Arab leaders.

    For the US, Hamas is a terrorist organisation.

    And for Israel, it is a fierce enemy that aims to uproot the country. And for the Arabs, the arrival of an Islamic movement to power is something dangerous for their thrones.

    However, I prefer to live in hunger for some more time provided Hamas does its best to improve our lives.

    Maged Salha, 35, general physician, father of two, north Gaza

    My landlord told me not to worry about the delay in paying rent because he is aware that none of us have been paid in the past three months.

    Salha: I ask those who believe in
    democracy to ease our plight

    My savings have run out, forcing me to only buy the absolutely necessary needs for survival.

    I think that the delay of the salaries has resulted in a kind of a political blackmail being practised on the new Palestinian government to put it into a embarrassing situation in the eyes of it citizens.

    I ask all those who believe in democracy around the whole world not to be bystanders, but to try to alleviate our plight.

    Haniya Abu Komail, 39, housewife, mother of seven, Moraka Village

    Life has become much more difficult because employees haven't received their salaries for the third month under the rule of the new government.

    Abu Komail: Government must
    not give up its principles

    I fear a humanitarian crisis because of the shortage of medicines and food.

    I think this will increase support for Hamas who in turn will become more adamant.

    We haven't got enough time to decide whether the Hamas-led government is good or bad.

    However, in my opinion, the government must not give up any of the Palestinian's principles.

    I think that resistance isn't only by fire, but also by insistence on the nation's principles.

    Nabil al-Ghorra, 55, shopkeeper, al-Sabra Suburb

    Al-Gorra: If there is no money,
    there will be no life

    Commerce has nearly ground to a standstill and I am afraid we can't continue like this for much longer.

    I ask the Palestinian government to try to advance at least small loans, in accordance with its ability, to employees in order to initiate the movement of goods in the market.

    I fear that everything in our lives will stop. Factories will stop, trade will stop. Life is money and money is life. If there is no money, there will be no life.

    Abu Nahed, 61, entrepreneur, Gaza City

    Abu Nahed: I hope the Arabs
    save us from this siege

    Many people have been coming to me to borrow money.

    In the beginning I could give everyone, but now I can't do that.

    I had expected the financial crisis to be resolved by now.

    I hope that the Arab populations will rebel against their leaders and burst into our country to save us from this siege.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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