Hamas has begun handing out plots of land to 40,000 civil servants to compensate them for the millions of dollars in salaries it owes them for the past two years.
The land giveaway is the latest sign that Hamas is struggling financially after almost a decade of uncontested power in the Palestinian territory.
Gazans complained about lack of jobs, constant electricity shortages and a blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt that has confined the territory’s 1.9 million people to the Strip, with the World Bank claiming that unemployment in Gaza is 38 percent.
Consequently, Hamas resorted to paying its loyalists 40 percent of their salaries at 50-day intervals.
Since March, after Hamas collected additional taxes, these civil servants have been receiving 45 percent of their salaries on a monthly basis.
The land giveaway allows groups of four employees to share a 500-square-metre plot which they can either build on or sell.
Senior Hamas official, Salah Al Bardawil, said the land giveaway was a temporary fix, “not yet a strategic one” that would solve the group’s financial problems for good.