The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) calls for putting an end to the current efforts practiced in Gaza to allocate State Land for civil servants in Gaza in reimbursement of their dues in view of the ongoing salary crisis. The latest of which was the decision taken yesterday by the Change and Reform Bloc that convened on behalf of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in Gaza to approve the allocation of State lands for civil servants. PCHR highlights that allocating State lands and taking such decisions fall within the competence of the Council of Ministers. In addition, PCHR calls upon the Palestinian government arising from the reconciliation agreement to promptly put an end to the salary crisis, as it is one of the reconciliation obligations.
The Change and Reform Bloc which convenes in Gaza on behalf of PLC stressed in a statement issued on Sunday, 29 November 2015, that the Bloc approved the recommendations of the 3 PLC (legal – economic – budget) committees in regards to a proposal presented by the Land Authority on State land allocation for the interest of a housing project. The statement reads, “As part of the keenness of the committees and PLC to practice supervision over this project, guarantee the utmost interest of our people, offering equal opportunities for civilians to benefit from such projects, commitment to the law and maintaining the beneficiaries’ rights, PLC approved the 3 committees’ recommendations based on PLC supervisory role over the executive authority”.
It should be noted that thousands of civil servants were assigned by the former government in the Gaza Strip and their professional status has not been settled yet although a year and a half passed on the formation of the national unity government in June 2014. One of the unity government’s obligations was to solve the civil servants salary crisis in Gaza. Nonetheless, the crisis continued due to the obstruction of the reconciliation process.
PCHR emphasizes that any allocation decision issued by the Change and Reform Bloc on behalf of the PLC in Gaza is illegal and does not solve the civil servants’ problem. However, the decision draw them into another crisis that will waste their rights. PCHR justified that based on the following legal and objective considerations:
- Ministerial Council Decision No. 9/2007 on State lands issued by the government formed by the Former Prime Minister, Isma’il Haniyah, following the PLC elections in 2006. The decision stipulates, “The immediate cessation of allocating any State land for public or private interest unless by a decision issued by the Council of Ministers.”
- Any decision issued by the Change and Reform Bloc does not represent the PLC or any other legal power. Thus, its decisions are considered null and can be ignored, blowing employees’ dues in the wind.
- The national unity government formed in June 2014 is the only party legally responsible for any decision to allocate State lands.
- Dues of the former Gaza government civil servants’ dues is one of the reconciliation files; therefore, solving it properly means moving towards the Palestinian reconciliation instead of hindering it with such decisions.
- The decision to allocate lands does not offer a real solution to the Gaza civil servants, especially as the crisis is ongoing and the dues periodically accumulate.
In light of the above mentioned, PCHR:
- Demands immediate accomplishment of the Palestinian reconciliation and calls upon both parties to the division to bear their responsibilities in order to find a decent solution for the former Gaza government civil servants far from any future problems; and
- Demands solving the crisis of the civil servants’ dues according to the law and integrating them in the official associations in a professional manner in order to achieve the rules of justice and fairness within the Palestinian reconciliation.