December 8, 2019

PA Cabinet Received Massive Pay Raise Amidst Economic Struggles

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends the Arab summit in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, May 31, 2019. REUTERS/Hamad l Mohammed

The Palestinian Authority (PA) cabinet received a massive pay raise in 2017 while the West Bank economy languished, according to the Associated Press.

The AP report states that they obtained documents revealing that the cabinet gave itself a 67 percent pay raise in addition to other “lavish payouts and perks” that included providing PA ministers an additional $10,000 to reside in Ramallah, where the PA is located. The PA also inflated the exchange rate so they could increase their earnings when converting their currency to Israeli shekels.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas approved the pay raises and perks, per the AP.

Meanwhile, Palestinians living in the West Bank are mired in a sluggish economy, where unemployment is currently near 20 percent and the average worker earns monthly salaries ranging from around $700 to $1,000. By contrast, PA cabinet officials earned $5,000 and Abbas earned $6,000 a month after the pay raise, according to the AP, sparking a backlash from the Palestinian people on social media. The PA has said they’re going to review the matter.

Back in March, a Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research poll found that 60 percent of Palestinians in the West Bank believe that Abbas should step down from his position. Abbas was elected as PA president in 2005 as part of a four-year term; elections in the West Bank have not been held since. Additionally, according to the AP, more than 80 percent of Palestinians believe the PA is plagued with corruption.

Journal Editor-In-Chief David Suissa argued in a January 2018 Op-ed that Abbas frequently delegitimizes the Jewish connection to Israel in order to maintain his iron fist over the West Bank.

“Put yourself in Abbas’ shoes,” Suissa wrote. “His people live in misery while, next door, the hated Jewish state thrives. Doubling down on victimhood means he can blame every Palestinian hardship on Israel.”

Suissa proceeded to argue that Abbas is “celebrated around the world” for his narrative that Israel is to blame for Palestinian malaise, allowing Abbas to enrich himself and his cabinet members through “humanitarian” aid without having to make any efforts toward achieving peace.

“There is, of course, one complication in this whole picture — the Palestinian people,” Suissa wrote. “The day they realize they have been lied to for so long by their own leaders is the day those leaders will abandon their villas in Ramallah and hop on their private jets to any country that will take them.”