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Anger in Palestine: Fayyad makes up salary crisis to stay in power

Palestinian prime minister is accused by analysts of using Israel's decision to block tax revenues to bolster his own standing and undermine the unity government

Saleh Naami , Wednesday 11 May 2011
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Palestinian political analysts have accused their prime minister, Salam Fayyad, of creating the salary crisis to pressure the various factions on the Palestinian political arena to assign him to form a transitional government. Following the reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas, Israel withheld tax revenues from the Palestinian Authority, leading the PA to announce it would not be able to pay salaries.

The accusations of fabricating the crisis were directed at Fayyad following his economic advisor Aziz Abu Daka’s denial of the insufficiency of funds to pay the month’s salaries.

Palestinian news websites reported Abu Daka’s stating that despite Israel’s decision to freeze tax revenues, the PA’s treasury held enough funds to pay the salaries for this month and beyond.

Local newspaper Palestine quoted Azzam al-Ahmad, head of the Fatah bloc in the legislative council and chief of the reconciliation delegation with Hamas, describing Fayyad’s claim of an inability to pay salaries by the PA as “deceit.”

Economic expert Khalil Shahine said that in spite of the PA’s financial trouble, the problem is not sufficient to prevent it from paying public sector employees.

When speaking to the official Palestinian news agency SAFA, Shahine expressed scepticism over Fayyad’s pronouncement when the European Union had promised a sum of 85 million euros as an alternative to the blocked funds and when France had also offered separate aid.

In his turn, writer and political analyst Dr. Khalil Abu Shamala said that Fayyad chose to deliberately postpone the payment of salaries to remind Fatah and Hamas of his weight in economic and political matters, a weight they can’t ignore under any circumstances.

In an article published in the Palestine newspaper, Abu Shamala writes that Fayyad doesn’t deserve the trust of the Palestinian people since he is sending messages that are unsettling to the security of government employees as regards their future under the auspices of a unity government. 

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