GAZA CITY (AFP) – Gaza’s Hamas-run government admitted on Thursday it is finding it hard to come up with the 25 million dollars a month it needs to fund its budget.
In a speech before hundreds of teachers at a ceremony in Gaza City, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya admitted his government was struggling with its finances.
It costs “25 million dollars a month to fund the government and the ministries,” Haniya said. “And it’s really difficult to provide that.”
He said Hamas receives no money from either the United States or the European Union, whose money was offered “in the context of political blackmail.”
Haniya, who holds the post of prime minister in the Gaza Strip, but is not recognised internationally as such, revealed that Hamas employs a massive state infrastructure in the coastal enclave.
Employees of government institutions and ministries “now number some 34,000 people,” he said, a number that includes security services and police.
Hamas, a militant group dubbed a terrorist organisation by the United States and Europe, has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007.
It won legislative elections in 2006, prompting long-standing tensions with chief rival party Fatah to boil over into violence a year later.
Hamas fighters in Gaza routed their Fatah counterparts in bloody confrontations and have been firmly in charge of the territory ever since.