A Palestinian Authority official said Sunday that a lavish presidential palace being built outside of Ramallah would be converted into a national library.
Mohammad Shtayyeh, a member of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, said the decision to turn the complex into a library was made by Abbas, according to the official Wafa news agency.
The complex, which critics said was being built as a personal residence for Abbas, was also slated to serve as a guesthouse for foreign dignitaries, Shtayyeh said.
He added that while construction on the palace itself was complete, work was still being done on the compound’s helipads.
While the presidential palace raised eyebrows over its high price tag, PA officials told the Haaretz daily in 2015 that the facility was being funded by international donors and Palestinian firms, not taxpayers.
The decision to go ahead with construction on the 27-dunam (6.67-acre) compound was made despite the PA’s financial woes.