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Qatar Gives $31 Million for Hamas Civilian Wages in Gaza Strip

The money would go to civilian employees only and not to members of Hamas’ security services, Qatari official says

Qatar has transferred $31 million to the Gaza Strip to pay the salaries of some 23,000 Hamas employees there, a Qatari official announced on Tuesday.
But the official, Ambassador Mohammed al-Amadi, who heads the National Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza, stressed that the money would go to civilian employees only, and not to members of Hamas’ security services.
Speaking at a press conference in Gaza City, Amadi said the wage payments for July would be made via the United Nations and not directly by Qatar, and that is the reason for the distinction between civilian employees and security personnel. He said the salaries would be paid within the next few days, pursuant to a decision made last month.
But Ismail Haniyeh, the deputy head of the Hamas political bureau, objected to the decision to exclude security personnel and Hamas is trying to persuade Qatar to pay them as well. The security personnel in question are members of Gaza’s police force, not of Hamas’ military wing.
Hamas employees haven’t received regular salary payments in the two years since a nominal unity government was formed between Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Instead, they have only received partial payments at random intervals, whenever a foreign government — usually Qatar — happens to provide the money. Consequently, they say, they are living in serious poverty.
Qatar, which is spearheading various projects to repair damage caused in the Gaza Strip during the course of Hamas’ war with Israel in 2014, is considered the Islamist organization’s chief patron.
Khaled Meshal, the head of Hamas’ political bureau, lives in Qatar, as do several other senior Hamas officials. Palestinian sources say Qatar provides Hamas with money in part to prevent it from becoming fully dependent on any other country, especially Iran.
Over the years, Qatar has tried repeatedly to broker Hamas-Fatah reconciliation, but so far, to no avail. The issue of Hamas employees’ salaries has been one of the chief stumbling blocks to this effort. Hamas demands that the PA pay these salaries, but the PA — which is still paying its own employees in the Gaza Strip even though Hamas has fired them — flatly refuses to pay Hamas employees as well.

Jack Khoury
Haaretz Correspondent
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/1.734976
Schermata 2016 08 03 alle 09.01.42

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Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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