My Mideast Punchlines: Open all hours…

The Palestinian labor market in the West Bank was limping along in 2017, with unemployment stubbornly high and economic growth slowing. But that didn’t stop the Palestinian Cabinet from secretly giving itself a series of lavish payouts and perks, highlighted by a 67% salary hike.

The payments and perks were kept quiet for the past two years, but news of the Cabinet decision leaked this week in a series of documents posted anonymously to social media.

The revelations have rocked the West Bank, where the cash-strapped government has been forced to slash the salaries of its employees because of a financial crisis. Coming during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, a time of high expenses for struggling families, the report renewed outrage among Palestinians who have long seen their leadership as out of touch and rife with corruption

According to one leaked document, the monthly salaries for Cabinet ministers spiked from $3,000 to $5,000, while the prime minister’s salary was raised to $6,000.

“The cabinet members behaved as if the government is their private shop and they can take as much as they want without being held accountable,” said political commentator Ehab Jareri.

biffWell, Mr Jareri, what did you expect from a shop run by a kleptocracy? At least it’s “Open All Hours”!

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