As thousands struggle just to eat in Palestine, the President of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Mahmoud Abbas plans to spend $13 million (£8 million) building a lavish presidential palace.
The luxurious new palace which will be complete with landscaped gardens comes as the struggling territory continues to slip deeper into poverty.
The Express reports: The sprawling estate will span an area the size of FOUR football pitches and has been deemed a “national priority” by the government of Mahmoud Abbas.
It will include a 4,700-square-metre guest palace and two helipads, alongside a 4,000-square-metre administrative building.
The total land area being swallowed up by the audacious building project is 27,000 square metres.
A statement on the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction website said: “The goal of this project is to establish the Presidential Guest Palace in Surda, Ramallah within an area of 4,700m2, along with a building for the Presidential Administration and Guards with an area of 4,000m2.
“The construction process includes also preparing the surrounding area and two helipads.”
But the lavish expense of building a new palace for Mr Abbas comes despite the impoverished territory facing an ongoing financial crisis.
A recent UN report found Palestinians were suffering the “worst poverty rate of all time” – due in part to Israeli “segregation policies” that have left more than 80 per cent of Palestinian children in Jerusalem living in poverty.
US authorities estimate the West Bank’s GDP per capita stands at £3,180, compared to £21,700 in Israel and £25,700 in the UK.
Funding shortfalls at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which works with Palestinian refugees, also mean that if officials fail to raise an extra £60million, up to 500,000 Palestinian children may not be able to attend school.
The Presidential Guest Palace is set to be built in Surda, Ramallah in the West Bank and will take two years to complete.
However, the cost of the palace is dwarfed by the astonishing sum of money being spent on the construction of a new combined residence and office for the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
The project, to be built in Jerusalem, is estimated to cost £122million.