Palestinian direct pay plan for forces fought by commanders

Special to World
Wednesday, June 11, 2003

RAMALLAH The Palestinian Authority is said to be encountering difficulty in relaying salaries of military and security personnel directly into their bank accounts.

PA sources said military and security commanders have objected to the new policy. They said they want to keep providing salaries directly to their troops.

PA Finance Minister Salam Fayyad told the Palestinan Legislative Council that he expects all military and security personnel to receive their salaries in their bank accounts later this month. But he acknowledged resistance from PA commanders and said the issue is being discussed. Palestinian sources said the commanders have argued that they could ensure discipline among troops by having direct control over their salaries.

But critics said the commanders have siphoned off a percentage of the salaries for themselves as well as for the Fatah movement headed by PA Chairman Yasser Arafat.

The United States has pledged to relay tens of millions of dollars to help bolster PA security agencies. The PA has 13 such agencies, including the military-trained National Security Forces.

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