The European Union (EU) and the Netherlands have made a joint contribution to the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) payment of nearly 55,000 Palestinian civil servants and pensioners in the West Bank.
The contribution, which was given on August 2, is funded with Euros 10 million from the EU and an additional Euros 0.62m from the Netherlands. The latter has been earmarked for civil servants working in the Justice Sector.
In a press release, the EU Representative Ralph Tarraf stated that: The civil servants play an important role in Palestinian life by making sure that the public policies and services are carried out. They ensure the functioning of the system, stability and security.
Civil servants and pensioners rely on their wages for their day-to-day life. Our contributions to civil servants salaries and pensions demonstrate once more the European Union’s enduring support for Palestinian state-building efforts, Tarraf added.
The EU contributions to the salaries of Palestinian civil servants and pensioners help to ensure services, such as hospitals and schools, continue operating in the West Bank.
The contribution is not the first of its kind, as the EU has supported the PA Reform and Development Plan and subsequent Palestinian national plans and agendas since 2008. Since February 2008, Euros 2.5 billion has been disbursed to the PA.
According to the EU, most of the past contributions to the PA has been targeted at both the West Bank and Gaza.
While the latest contribution secures the PA’s salaries and pensions of nearly 55,000 Palestinian civil servants in the occupied West Bank, the PA has been heavily criticised for attempting to make cutbacks in the Gaza Strip.
In April 2017 the PA presented public sector workers in the Gaza Strip with 30-70 per cent deductions in their salaries. This led to the eruption of large rallies in the impoverished coastal enclave.
In July 2017 the PA planned to force 6,000 Gaza civil servants to retire. At the time, PA spokesman Yousif al-Mahmoud said that the decision was only a temporary measure aimed at applying pressure on Hamas to relinquish control of the besieged Gaza Strip and reconcile with the PA.
However, in August 2017, the PA shelved the plan to fire the 6,000 Gaza civil servants after aid officials spoke out about their concerns for the implications for the two million inhabitants in the Gaza Strip.
We decided, in consultation with President Mahmoud Abbas, to allow education and health employees who were recently (asked) to retire early to continue their work in the ministry, a statement from PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said at the time.
Earlier this year the PA once again made some drastic decisions regarding the salaries for civil servants in the Gaza Strip. In April the PA failed to pay wages to its staff in Gaza. This was followed by cuts in the salaries for its staff in Gaza by 20 per cent in May as well as failure to make up for the skipping of payment the previous month’s pay.
Source: Palestine Monitor