Israel to resume pension payments to Gaza residents



JERUSALEM- Israel will resume paying pensions and social benefits to some 1,000 eligible Gaza Strip residents for the first time since Hamas seized control of the territory, its defence ministry said Sunday.
"The national insurance benefits and pension payments, which are estimated at approximately two million shekels (535,000 dollars, euro 380,000) a month, will be transferred to the Palestinian Authority according to a list of about 1,000 beneficiaries," the ministry said in a statement.



Israel to resume pension payments to Gaza residents
Israel severed all contact with Gaza Strip banks after Hamas drove out forces loyal to Western-backed Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in June 2007, fearing the money would go to the coffers of Hamas.
The move effectively ended social payments to those Palestinians who had earned benefits working in Israel.
To circumvent dealing with Gaza banks, Israel would give the money to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, which would then transfer it to Gaza, the statement said.
The decision to resume the payments was a "humanitarian gesture," it added.
Israel and Egypt have sealed Gaza off from all but vital goods since the Islamist movement seized power.
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Monday, January 25th 2010
AFP
           


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