Gaza ATMs closed
Photo: AP
Closed Gaza banks put holiday at risk
While financial crisis is felt almost everywhere in Israel, its ramifications in Strip are much more severe. Muslims to mark Eid al-Adha on Monday, but most banks, ATMs shut down due to cash shortage. Tens of thousands of Palestinian government workers have not received their salaries

The financial situation in the Gaza Strip is worsening, forcing most banks to close their branches. Many residents are angry because they can't withdraw money due to the cash shortage, and Palestinian Authority government workers did not receive their monthly salary on Friday.


The Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice) will take place on Monday, but many families are unable to prepare for it. Tens of thousands of government workers have yet to receive their wages and won't be able to purchase the basic commodities for the holiday.


The cash shortage problem is not new, and in recent months the Bank of Israel has intervened and transferred hundreds of millions of shekels to the Palestinian banks in the Strip.


The Palestinians expect the Bank of Israel to take action this time as well, but fear that this move will be taken too late – after Eid al-Adha.


Frustration in Gaza (Photo: AFP)


Gaza residents hope that the Salam Fayyad government – whose workers are the main sufferers from the shekel shortage and the delay in salaries – will take swift steps to solve the problem, as the Hamas government in the Strip pays its wages on the 28th day of each month.


The families of Gaza's government workers hope the problem will be solved by Sunday.


But these are not the Gazans only problems. For the first time in many years, the Strip residents won't get to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca, the spiritual center of Islam.


This crisis has been caused by the disputes between the Hamas government in Gaza and the Fatah government in the West Bank.


Egypt only allows the pilgrims registered with the Fatah government to pass through the Rafah crossing, but refuses to allow those registered through the Hamas government to do so.


As a result, the Gaza government decided not to allow the exit of pilgrims registered with Fatah as long as the crossing of Hamas supporters is not approved. Thus, thousands of residents of the Gaza Strip, who have registered and paid for the pilgrimage, will not be able to keep one of the five basic commands of Islam.


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