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PA denies claims of $13 million personal presidential palace

Aug. 27, 2015 2:58 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 27, 2015 2:59 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian Authority officials on Thursday denied Israeli media reports released last week on plans for a $13 million personal presidential palace to be built with government funds.

Palestinian leadership sources from the PA headquarters in Ramallah denied the claims that the structure was a personal palace for President Mahmoud Abbas. 

The sources said the palace is instead projected to be used as a leadership headquarters and a facility to receive guests and world leaders.

The palace is listed as "The Presidential Guest Palace" in the upcoming projects section of the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction's (PECDAR) website.

The source within the PA added that most of the construction material used for the new guesthouse in Ramallah came from donations as well as from profits of national companies, and said the claims that the palace is a personal home for Abbas are “fake” and created as an attempt to "pressure Abbas."

PECDAR's website lists "Self financing - Ministry of Finance" as the source of funding for the $13 million project.

The Palestinian government's deficit is expected to reach nearly $2 billion this year, the Anadolu Agency reported a Palestinian finance ministry official as saying in January.

Young Palestinian engineers reportedly created the architectural designs of the palace, which is set on 44 dunams (10.8 acres) of land that were allocated for the government. 

The palace has gardens, is surrounded by a six-meter high wall, and is equipped with two helicopter landing pads and underground water and electricity systems.

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