Abbas to pay Hamas salaries

Thursday, July 19, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas intends to defy the international financial embargo against Hamas by paying the salaries of members of the terrorist organization employed by the Palestinian government over the past year.

The international community imposed an embargo on financial aid to the Palestinian Authority so long as the government was controlled by Hamas, which following its electoral victory in 2006 rejected calls to moderate its violent anti-Israel policies.

But after Hamas' takeover of the Gaza Strip earlier this month, and Abbas' subsequent establishment of a Hamas-less emergency government in the West Bank, Western powers jumped at the opportunity to renew funding to the Palestinian leader and his PLO.

The first step was to pressure Israel to transfer tens of millions of dollars in tax revenues frozen after Hamas' took power. US President George W. Bush followed up this week by pledging $190 million of American tax payers' dollars to Abbas.

Palestinian Information Minister Riyad al-Maliki told reporters on Thursday that a portion of the money will be used to fully compensate all Hamas members who were denied salaries by the international embargo.

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