Palestinians paid at last

A Palestinian bank has begun paying the salaries of government workers despite threats of sanctions against institutions dealing with the Hamas administration.

    Armed factions threatened Palestinian banks (file photo)

    The Bank of Palestine said in a statement on Sunday that government employees who held accounts at its branches and earned 1,500 shekels a month ($325) or less could start withdrawing their money from automated teller machines (ATMs).

    Mohammed al-Qilani, a policeman, was able to withdraw his salary from a Bank of Palestine ATM in the Gaza Strip on Sunday night.

    "I did not believe that the salary would ever be paid again," he said. "I don't believe it even now."

    The Palestinian Authority's 165,000 workers have gone without salaries for three months since the Islamic resistance group Hamas took power, prompting Israel and Western countries to cut off aid and other transfers to the administration.

    Israel, the United States and the EU regard Hamas as a terrorist organisation. That has also discouraged local, regional and international banks from doing any business with the new government.

    Free loans

    The initiative by the Bank of Palestine came after other local banks, in the wake of threats from militants, agreed to pay out of their own funds thousands of other government workers.

    The banks said they would provide free loans, covering one month's salary, to the Palestinian government's lowest-paid employees.

    By dealing directly with the employees, those banks sidestep the threat of international sanctions against financial institutions that deal with Hamas.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Meet the deported nurse aiding asylum seekers at US-Mexico border

    Meet the deported nurse helping refugees at the border

    Francisco 'Panchito' Olachea drives a beat-up ambulance around Nogales, taking care of those trying to get to the US.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.