Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas is building a $13 million palace for himself in Ramallah, the PA governmental seat in Samaria, as revealed in an official website recently.
The Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction (PECDAR) official website published an announcement of the massive construction project.
PECDAR, established by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) terror group in 1993 as part of the Oslo Accords, posted "The Presidential Guest Palace in Surda, Ramallah" as a two year project. Abbas often refers to himself as the "president of Palestine," leaving no doubts that the palace is indeed intended for his luxury.
The palace is to sprawl over 27,000 square meters of land, and is itself to be 4,700 square meters in size. Along with the palace, a "building for the Presidential Administration and Guards" is also to be built spanning 4,000 square meters.
Two helipads for helicopter transport are also to be built on the grounds of the palace, which according to architectural sketches on the site – that can be viewed here – is to be nothing short of royal in terms of its design and scale.
The $13 million for the palace is to be financed by the PLO's budget, which is deeply debt ridden and largely propped up by US donations.
According to the PECDAR website, "donor's funds are disbursed effectively and efficiently and in the most transparent manner. Funds are project oriented in accordance with national priorities."
The website adds that PEDCAR is "accountable to a Board of Trustees which is headed by President Mahmoud Abbas."
The fact that PEDCAR, which answers to Abbas, found the construction of a $13 million palace for Abbas to be a "national priority" throws into further relief the massive corruption in the PA, where Abbas continues to rule despite his term having expired in January 2009.
"PA corruption is obvious on the ground"
Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh wrote an article in the Gatestone Institute last week detailing the corruption, after PLO unity government Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah the same week told visiting Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Majority Leader of the US House of Representatives, that the US invested $4.5 billion into the Palestinian cause over the last 20 years.
Abu Toameh pointed out that figure did not include money forked over to the PA, and noted that "Palestinian economic analysts estimate that the PA has received a total of $25 billion in financial aid from the U.S. and other countries during the past two decades," ever since the PA was established in the Oslo Accords.
"One does not have to be an expert on Palestinian affairs to see that the billions of dollars have neither created democracy for the Palestinians nor boosted the Israeli-Palestinian peace process."
The journalist noted that the PA was "actually a one-man show called Yasser Arafat; he and his cronies were the main benefactors of American and European taxpayers' money. …At the time, the assumption in the U.S., Europe and other countries was that a corrupt and repressive Arafat would one day make far-reaching concessions for the sake of peace with Israel."
Those delusions blew up in the 2000 Camp David talks when Arafat rejected then Prime Minister Ehud Barak's unprecedented concession offers, and went on to launch the Second Intifada terror war.
In comments that echo resoundingly given the new palace construction project, Abu Toameh wrote, "one does not need to ask Palestinian Authority officials about the way they spent the American aid money because the reality on the ground is too obvious. The PA took the billions of dollars and continues to operate as a corrupt and undemocratic regime. Democracy is the last thing the Palestinians expect to see from the PA or Hamas."