Thursday, May 12, 2011

Billionaires in the West Bank? Meet Munib al-Masri

Palestinian billionaire Munib al-Masri has been in the news a bit, lately, having helped mediate the unity government between Hamas and Fatah. Al-Masri's (the name means "the Egyptian", btw... so much for the "indigenous people" claim) personal fortune amounts to 1/3 of the Palestinian economy, and he is the largest private sector employer in the West Bank. (The government is the largest employer). Al- Masri's company Padico, the Palestinian Development and Investment Company today employs some 35,000 people. Another al-Masri company, Paltel (the Palestine Telecommunications Corporation), employs 12,000 people.

His palitial home on Mt. Gerizim, just outside Nablus is built on 70 acres and features a staircase imported from Sicily, a Gothic fireplace from Versailles and a glassed-in winter garden that was a gift from Napoleon to Josephine, and is complete with ancient Greek statues, Picassos, manicured gardens and pools. The home is a copy of a 16th-century house designed by Italian architect Andrea Paldio. Almost all of the building materials, including the gravel and sand, were imported from France

Al-Masri's house (Photo: Atta Awisat)

Al-Masri's house-interior view (Photo: Atta Awisat)

Quite a different lifestyle than you'd expect in the Palestinian territories, perhaps.


BBJ said...

I like the swimming pool by the Palladio. Very nice.

bronxiegirl said...

Do you think that's where the flotilla is headed? Long way to go for a swim!Then they'll take photos of the "suffering hordes" to prove they were in the REAL Gaza.