Over a month ago we noted that BBC audiences had received no information concerning the Palestinian Authority’s self-inflicted financial crisis which has led to its employees being paid only part of their salaries for the past few months. That observation still stands.
On June 4th AP reported another story relating to certain Palestinian Authority employees.
“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. […]
The raises were kept secret from the public and approved by President Mahmoud Abbas, two senior officials said, overriding a 2004 law that fixed ministers’ salaries. […]
The pay raise was made retroactive to 2014, when the Cabinet took office, giving the ministers an extra bonus of tens of thousands of dollars, the officials said.
The benefits did not end there. Ministers who live outside the West Bank city of Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority, received $10,000 a year to rent a house there, another document showed. Officials who already owned Ramallah homes also reaped the lucrative bonus. […]
The leaked documents have sparked widespread outrage on Palestinian social media, with critics branding the government a “farm” or “shop” for top officials. Amid the outrage, the Palestinian Authority has been forced to respond.
Newly appointed Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, a longtime adviser to Abbas, has suspended the pay raises and referred the issue to Abbas “to review it and take legal measures.” While the issue is investigated, ministers will receive half their salaries, like most other government employees, according to government spokesman Ibrahim Milhim.”
Had such a story emerged in any other location, it is difficult to imagine that it would not have received some sort of BBC coverage. On the other hand, neither the resignation of the PA prime minister and his entire government in January nor the appointment of an unelected successor in March was considered by the BBC to be newsworthy.
As has often been observed here in the past, only very occasionally do BBC audiences see stand-alone reports about Palestinian affairs which are not framed within the context of ‘the conflict’ and do not have an Israel-related component. Audiences therefore see a blinkered and largely one-dimensional view of Palestinian life which does not meet the corporation’s obligation to provide content which will build understanding of global issues.