Leaked documents revealing that members of the Palestinian Authority Cabinet gave themselves a retroactive 67 percent pay raise in 2017 have sparked outrage among their constituents, who are accusing their leaders of being corrupt and self-serving.
According to the Associated Press, the large salary increase occurred in 2017, the same year that the P.A. cut salaries for 50,000 employees in Gaza by a third, arguing that the government wouldn’t be able to pay salaries at all unless it made the move. The P.A. also argued that the Gaza workers were idle, given that the region was now controlled by Hamas, which employed its own loyalists.
The documents confirming the pay increase, including for P.A. chief Mahmoud Abbas, were posted anonymously online and quickly went viral.
One of the documents shows that monthly salaries for Cabinet members rose from $3,000 to $5,000 a month, while Abbas’s salary was raised to $6,000. Moreover, the raise was made retroactive to 2014, when the Cabinet took office, and was passed secretly, overriding a 2004 law that fixed salaries of ministers.
Additional benefits include $10,000 a year to rent a house in Ramallah for all ministers living outside Ramallah, and a $10,000 bonus for all those who live in the city.
The government also provided ministers a whopping 17 percent exchange rate when converting their salaries to shekels.
The ministers also continued to enjoy funding for personal drivers and international travel expenses.
Due to the severity of the public outcry following the revelation, the P.A. government suspended the pay raises and said the government would investigate the measure. Recent polls showed that over 80 percent of P.A. residents consider the P.A. leadership to be corrupt.