Palestinian premier promises to pay wages after protests by security forces

Ismail Haniyeh, Prime Minister of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority, promised yesterday to start paying salaries to government employees in the aftermath of angry demonstrations by security officers over the non-payment of their wages.

Mr Haniyeh told worshippers at a Gaza mosque that the payments would start today or tomorrow of wages to those earning £175 a month, and those earning higher salaries would receive downpayments of £175. The PA's 165,000 employees are in their third month without a salary.

His pledge came amid growing unrest among the Fatah-dominated security services against the Hamas government, which on Thursday saw members firing automatic weapons and smashing windows at the parliament building in Gaza.

Khader Afana, a Fatah member of the preventative security force, was killed by unknown gunmen in Gaza City. No one admitted responsibility for the shooting.

Pledging that local banks would start paying some of the salaries, Mr Haniyeh said that the PA would not collapse under the weight of the international and Israeli boycott of the authority. "We have collected lots of money but the Americans are putting pressure on the banks and on other countries in order to prevent it from coming in," he said.

Mr Haniyeh's promise was made two days before the expiry of the 10-day deadline set by the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, in his warning to Hamas that they should accept the principle of a two-state solution to the conflict with Israel or he would put the issue to a referendum.

As sources close to Mr Abbas reported a hardening of his determination to hold a referendum, Fatah's central committee, at a meeting in Tunisia attended by Mr Abbas, ratified a motion calling for the referendum whether or not it receives the consent of other Palestinian factions.

In Beijing on Thursday, Mahmoud al-Zahar, the Hamas leader and PA Foreign Minister, repeated his opposition to the referendum, again calling it a waste of money. Pointing out that Hamas had won an election in January, he declared: "We are not in need of a referendum." But Mr Abbas said he did not need the backing of the Hamas-dominated Palestinian Legislative Council for the referendum, adding: "I do not need the parliament's ratification. 160,000 Palestinians are not eating and drinking because of the position of the current government."

One official said that the "national dialogue" between Hamas and Fatah on the proposal - embodied in a joint document by a group of senior Fatah and Hamas prisoners - might extend beyond the weekend. But he added that Hamas had not been officially attending talks in Ramallah over the last few days, on the ground that they wanted them moved to Gaza, and that "the feeling" was that the referendum would go ahead whether Hamas agreed to the proposal or not.

Meanwhile, Haaretz newspaper quoted a PA security officer for Gaza border crossings, Salim Abu Safiya, as saying that Mr Abbas was soon to assume direct responsibility for the crossings, replacing the government officials who run the checkpoints with his own presidential guards. Forces loyal to Mr Abbas have already assumed control of the main Rafah crossing into Egypt in an operation aided and supported by the United States.

Officials in the presidency office earlier this month broadly confirmed reports that Mr Abbas was still pressing a long-standing proposal for the presidential security force to be increased - to an eventual target of around 10,000 men.

Israel caused Mr Abbas and Fatah leaders some embarrassment a week ago by announcing that they had allowed weapons into Gaza from an unspecified third country for equipping Mr Abbas's personal protection force because of perceived threats against his life. A request transmitted by the US for weapons to be allowed in for PA security forces last year was rejected by Israel.

The Israeli Defence Minister, Amir Peretz, yesterday ordered a joint inquiry with Egypt after two uniformed and armed men were shot dead after an attacking an Israeli army unit on the border between the two countries.

Egyptian police on Friday said the two armed men who were killed were security personnel. A third armed man, also said by Egyptian police to be a security officer, fled back across the border. Essam el-Sheik, the head of Egyptian police in the border area, said the reason for their infiltration into Israel was not immediately clear.

Fatah and Hamas: the key differences


Mahmoud Abbas is planning to hold a referendum on the principle of a two-state solution to overcome opposition from Hamas to recognising the state of Israel. A referendum would vote on a document favouring two states on pre-occupation 1967 borders drawn up by Hamas and Fatah prisoners.


Both sides are struggling for control over the security services delivering law and order to Palestinians. Hamas has formed a 3,000-strong paramilitary force to "support" existing police despite this being vetoed by President Abbas, angering members of the Fatah-dominated security forces. Meanwhile President Abbas is seeking to build up presidential forces.


Some Fatah elements are protesting at the PA's inability to pay salaries because of the Israeli-led boycott on Hamas unless it meets demands for recognising Israel, renouncing violence and holding to previous agreements with Israel. Hamas says most Palestinians blame not the Government, but the international community.

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
ebookA powerful collection of reportage on Egypt’s cycle of awakening and relapse
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little