The Palestine Bank in Gaza has paid one month’s salary to thousands of cash-strapped workers. The financial institution has provided interest-free loans to 10,000 of the Palestinian Authority’s lowest-paid workers.
The Hamas takeover of the Palestinian government has led to a cut-off of funds by the US, EU and Israel, which all list the group as a terrorist organisation.The Palestinian Authority’s 165,000 workers have gone without salaries for five months since the January election which saw Hamas voted in. By dealing directly with the workers, the bank sidesteps the threat of international sanctions against any organisation that deals with Hamas. But the situation in the Gaza Strip remains tense. Five bystanders, including a pregnant woman, were killed by gunmen in two separate shootings. Hamas has rejected international demands to renounce violence, recognise Israel and abide by interim peace deals.