Unity Govt Meets in Gaza Amid Public Employee Protests

Dozens of Palestinian civil servants protested Thursday in front of the government’s headquarters in the Gaza Strip demanding paychecks they have not received for several months, as Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah finished a rare visit to the coastal enclave.

Prime Minister Hamdallah pledged that Palestinian factions would “work fast” to find solutions to issues facing Gaza on Thursday, on the second day of what is only his second visit to Gaza since the formation of a national unity government between Fatah and Hamas in June.

As Hamdallah and his accompanying delegation left Gaza Strip on Thursday evening, spokesman Ehab Bseiso emphasized that future solutions discussed during the short trip will be comprehensive, including electricity, employment, and reconstruction.

Hamdallah vowed yesterday in Gaza that civilian workers of Hamas’ de facto administration in Gaza would be enlisted to the payroll of the Palestinian Authority.

Head of the employees’ union, Muhammad Siyam, said that the union will continue to demand the employees’ rights, adding that a meeting between the employees’ representatives and Hamdallah will be held on Thursday to discuss solutions for the crisis.

He pointed out that protests will continue, and called upon Hamdallah not to leave the Gaza Strip without finding a solution to crisis.

Employees of the former Hamas-run government in Gaza went on strike in late December 2014 in protest of an announcement that the Palestinian Authority would not guarantee their positions under the new unity government.

At the time, the unity government pledged to re-hire tens of thousands of workers laid off seven years ago, potentially threatening the livelihood of some 50,000 people Hamas hired to replace them following the Fatah-Hamas split in 2007.

Hamdallah arrived in Gaza Wednesday, when he said that his visit to Gaza was out of devotion to national reconciliation and saying that the Palestinian government “will not accept separating or isolating Gaza.”

In a meeting Thursday, several representatives of Palestinian factions met with Hamdallah, each stressing the necessity for unity.

Fatah’s spokesperson, Fayiz Abu Aita, said that factions agreed today that Gaza is a part of the geographical and political unity of Palestine.

Futhermore, Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas’ spokesperson, said that it has been confirmed to form a committee to discuss certain issues, especially crossings and the employees’ crisis.

(Ma’an – www.maannews.net)

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