RAMALLAH, West Bank — A lawmaker from the Hamas terror group in the West Bank said Monday that he and his colleagues received their monthly salaries after initially fearing the payments had been halted by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Hamas lawmaker Ayman Daraghmeh said he was told by Abbas’s government that the delay was due to a technical error.
Earlier Monday, he said that the 47 lawmakers representing the terror organization did not receive their June salaries and that they were told by the Finance Ministry that it was “orders from above.”
Hamas is the main political rival of Abbas’s party, and oversees autonomous enclaves in the West Bank. In 2007, Hamas drove out forces loyal to Abbas from the Gaza Strip in a violent takeover.
After the takeover, Abbas stopped paying the salaries of Hamas lawmakers in Gaza, but kept paying their West Bank colleagues.
On Sunday, dozens of Hamas activists once imprisoned by Israel said they did not receive their monthly support payment. Abbas has been trying to weaken Hamas and force them to yield control of Gaza.
Abbas is under pressure from the US and Israel to halt monthly payments to thousands of current and former prisoners who were held for terror attacks and murdering Israeli civilians. Israel claims the stipends encourage terrorism, while Palestinians say they are welfare payments.
It was not clear if the missing money transfers meant Abbas decided to stop the payments to some of the ex-prisoners. A spokesman for his West Bank-based autonomy government was not immediately available for comment Sunday.
In the past, Abbas was reluctant to halt the payments, fearing a popular backlash. Support for prisoners is a Palestinian consensus issue, despite the political split between Hamas, and Abbas’s Fatah movement.