The Palestinian Authority and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, face sharp criticism for stopping the construction of a new Palestinian hospital to treat cancer patients, even though the funds were already raised for the project.

According to a report by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Abbas had laid the cornerstone of the hospital in 2016, and in 2018, issued a decree establishing the Khaled Al-Hassan Foundation for Cancer Treatment and Bone Marrow Transplantation with the purpose of assisting in “the establishment of the Palestinian hospital specializing in the treatment of cancer.”

Then last month, the Palestinian Quds news network reported that Abbas had recently signed a presidential decree changing the function of the foundation to serve existing hospitals.

The report evoked public outrage, according to the news outlet, and the decision was described as corruption and theft of public funds. For example, journalist Majed Al-Arouri called for an investigative committee and threatened to launch protests against the P.A.

Some teachers submitted an official request for the P.A. to reimburse them for funds that had been deducted from their salaries for building the hospital.

Responding to the outrage, the P.A. Health Ministry announced that construction was frozen for now and assured the public that the funds were with the foundation.

The turmoil follows extensive public criticism of the corruption and mismanagement of the P.A., as well as undemocratic measures and abuses of power, said the report.

JNS

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