Wednesday, May 16, 2012

16-May-12: Ten years late, the assault on financial corruption at the highest levels of Palestinian government may finally be going somewhere

When you comprehend the relationship between the Le Bristol Hotel ("a French
hotel of grandeur and luxury at its finest")
 and the Palestinian Arab political
elite, you are some way to appreciating the role that
European and American funding has played in this tragic conflict
for the past decade and longer. See what we wrote about this in 2006.

There are reports today that the Palestinian Authority has set its sights on the man who served as financial adviser to the arch-terrorist Arafat.

Mohammed Rashid, widely described as "shadowy" is (to adopt the laconic language of today's Associated Press report) "suspected of transferring millions of dollars out of the Palestinian Investment Fund and setting up fake companies". But for anyone who tries to track the goings-on in Palestinian Arab official circles, there's almost always more there than meets the eye.

And there is no shortage of people you can describe as 'shadowy'. Challah Hu Akbar wrote yesterday ("Former Arafat Advisor Faces Corruption and Embezzlement Charges"), and in past months, about the fact that Mahmoud Abbas who heads the Palestinian Authority has been under criticism from this same Mohammed Rashid for some time. NPR and others say Rashid has been leveling allegations against Abbas, saying - but without elaborating - that he "made a huge mistake and must suffer the consequences". In fact Rashid is said to be preparing to publish hitherto unknown aspects of the "the circumstances of Abbas' rise to power".

That's also not such a new development. In "7-Dec-08: A surfeit of "moderation", we wrote that the PA "has, over the past few years, become less tolerant toward "unfriendly" journalists, especially Palestinian newsmen who report about financial corruption and abuse of human rights in PA-controlled areas."

For anyone paying attention, there's enough money washing around the Palestinian Arabs to warrant multiple rounds of investigations into corruption and embezzlement. That's been the case for at least a decade. We expressed our feelings on this in several bitter and pained appeals over the years. One that we published more than four years ago ("12-Jan-08: Open letter to the friends of our hostile neighbors") starts with these words:
To the leaders of War on WantChristian AidWorld VisionUNRWA and the long list of other non-governmental organizations purporting to work for the benefit of the Palestinian Arabs:
As parents of a child murdered in the name of jihad, we try to focus our energies on educating people about the dangers of jihadism and other forms of terror, while trying to stay out of politics. But it's hard for us to ignore your endless and frequently shrill criticisms of Israel and Israelis as the source of all evil in the lives of Palestinian Arabs... 
For decades, you have marketed an image of the Arabs on the other side of our borders as living lives rendered miserable because of us. You raise money from well-meaning churchgoers and university students in Europe, Australia, the United States, Canada and elsewhere on the premise that the absence of proper health facilities, decent education and adequate housing and industry are matters that need outside funds.
We don't seek to persuade you to share our outlook on what's going on in and around our country and our neighbourhood. That's politics. We do however demand that you begin to take public account of some of the less-known aspects of this conflict. And particularly that you internalize and respond to the matter of massive financial corruption among the leadership of the people you cast as pathetic, powerless and poor.
  Financial aid to the Palestinian Arabs is a serious industry. One study says that between 1994 and 2004, the US (alone) provided the Palestinians with $1.3 billion, the EU $1.1 billion, and Japan $530 million. Lots of palms are greased as this cash works it way through the channels...
If these brocaded walls could talk: Le Bristol Hotel, Paris
We ended it with these lines:
If any of you has studied the full 2005 report of the EU's money watchdog, OLAF, dealing with Palestinian Arab misapplication of European aid funds, would you mind sharing it with us? The brief official summary of the report spoke rather cryptically of "consistent indications to support the hypothesis that... some of the assets of the PA may have been used by some individuals for other than the intended purposes." The full text of the report, as far as we know, has never been released. The report is frequently quoted as evidence that EU funds were not applied to Palestinian Arab terror, but we believe the exact opposite is the case; the fact that the report has never been released is disturbing, to say the least.We ask you to express concern - to be just a little worried - about this latest claim of another missing couple of billion dollars. Before you go back to your donors, tell them and us what steps you are taking to verify that past, present and future funding has been spent as you claimed it was spent. Tell them and us why it doesn't seem to matter that Fatah, an organization that openly engages directly and indirectly in terror right up until today and that has an unelected leadership, even has two billion dollars to lose.
Where do you imagine that money came from? And if you don't care to know, tell us and your supporters that too. [The source article is here.]
We could go on. Corruption and financial greed is at the very heart of the war of the Arabs, including the Palestinian Arabs, against Israel. A terribly great pity that this has been so overlooked for so long.

No comments: