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Cablegate: Hamas Makes Charity and Salary Payments for Ramadan

VZCZCXRO2230
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #1963 2621611
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 191611Z SEP 07
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9061
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS JERUSALEM 001963

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE; NEA/IPA FOR
GOLDBERGER/SHAMPAINE/BELGRADE; NSC FOR ABRAMS/SINGH/WATERS;
TREASURY FOR HARRIS/LOEFFLER/NUGENT/HIRSON; BRUSSELS FOR
LERNER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EFIN IS KWBG PTER
SUBJECT: HAMAS MAKES CHARITY AND SALARY PAYMENTS FOR RAMADAN

1. (SBU) Former Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister
Ismayil Haniyah of Hamas told worshippers at a Gaza mosque on
September 14 that his Gaza administration would pay USD 100
each to 40,000 unemployed Palestinians during Ramadan.
Haniyah also pledged to cover USD 12 million in salaries for
16,000 public sector employees whom the PA has cut from the
payroll. Ismayil Mahfuz, a Hamas "deputy finance minister"
in Gaza, reportedly said his "ministry" has funds available
to cover Haniyah's pledges. Mahfuz added that the "ministry
of labor" will prepare a list of persons eligible to receive
the USD 100 unemployment payment and distribute vouchers to
them.

2. (SBU) In another example of Hamas' Ramadan campaign,
Haniyah announced a USD 50,000 donation to Kamal Udwan
Hospital in Bayt Lahiya, northern Gaza. A delegation of
Hamas Palestinian Legislative Council members delivered the
money to the hospital director on September 16.

3. (SBU) Palestinian contacts in Gaza tell us that Hamas
appears to have sufficient funds to cover its Ramadan
promises. They report that Hamas has been paying "loyal"
government workers for the past two months. The payments are
usually made directly in cash or through post offices.
(Comment: The cash payments are generally made in dollars.
End comment.) Hamas is also resorting to what one source
called "ad hoc tax and duty collection" and other creative
revenue-raising measures -- for example, collecting "duties"
from anyone entering Gaza with cigarettes or alcohol,
charging fees to "legalize" cars without papers, and
collecting electricity bill payments door-to-door (all in
cash). Hamas, he said, is "very effective in collecting
money."

----
For the latest reports on the Palestinian economy, visit
ConGen Jerusalem's unclassified intelink site at:
http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/pal econ
WALLES

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