09 October 2013

A Government That Can't Pay Its Bills That's Worth Celebrating

Hmmmm.... Maybe if you quit trying to wipe Israel off the map, you wouldn't have an economic blockade imposed that's so severe that you can't even pay your own bills.

Hamas is struggling to meet its payroll in the Gaza Strip, where income from taxes has been badly hit since neighboring Egypt started destroying a network of tunnels used to smuggle food, fuel and weapons into the Islamist-run enclave.

The crisis means that Gaza's thousands of civil servants may not receive their full salaries in time for an important Muslim holiday next week.

Egypt, which accuses Hamas of aiding Muslim militants in the lawless Sinai desert, has been waging a campaign to destroy the smuggling tunnels that delivered weapons and other goods to the Gaza Strip, which is partially blockaded by Israel.

Hamas, which denies the Egyptian allegations, taxes the traffic through the tunnels - a money stream that has now virtually run dry.

Last month, the Hamas government paid only 77 percent of its $25 million August payroll for Gaza's 50,000 civil servants.

It said on Tuesday it would make a special payment of 1,000 shekels ($280) to the employees on Thursday before the Eid al-Adha holiday. There is still no word on whether full September salaries will be paid this month.

"What is supposed to be a day of joy and happiness would turn into a nightmare, a disaster, because we cannot afford to feel happy," said 47-year-old public servant Mohammed Khalil.

By: Brant

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