Thursday, October 17, 2013

17-Oct-13: Making sense of never-ending corruption

Scene from the movie classic Casablanca: Renault, the police chief,
picking up his roulette winnings, is "shocked, shocked" to find gambling going on.
This has nothing, nothing, to do with Palestinian Arab corruption
and European willingness to be duped. [Image Source]
An article by Michael Curtis, "The Unsurprising Corruption of Palestinian Authorities" over on the American Thinker site, takes us several steps beyond the points we noted here in the past week (see "15-Oct-13: Which one factor, central to the conflict and the hatred, is almost never reported in the news media?" and "13-Oct-13: Massive scandal in Palestinian Arab financial affairs? No!") It's a great piece of analysis, and we urge everyone to read it all. 

The immediate trigger is a not-yet-released report by the European Court of Auditors into the income and spending of money given as foreign aid to the Palestinian Arabs by the EU. As we mentioned here four days ago, billions of aid dollars given to the Palestinians between 2008 and 2012 are unaccounted for and "lost". EU investigators who came to Jerusalem and the West Bank "were unable to obtain information or speak to Palestinian officials about corruption", as Curtis puts it. A more serious indictment would be hard to imagine. Still and unsurprisingly, it has gotten negligible media coverage. The usual reasons apply.

Some bullet-point extracts from his important piece, starting with the extraordinary largesse that has created the conditions for the monumental scale on which official Palestinian corruption is done:
  • The Palestinian Authority received, per capita of the people it controlled, 25 times more aid, mostly given to UNRWA (UN Relief and Work Agency) for Palestinian refugees, than Europeans received after World War II
  • Transparency International, a Berlin group concerned with monitoring corporate and political corruption, states that the ineffectiveness of the Palestinian parliament since 2007 has "given the executive (branch of Palestinian government) unlimited management over public funds." There have been "significant shortcomings" in management of funds. The group is currently investigating 29 Palestinian officials on counts of fraud and money laundering.
  • Moreover, over three-quarters of the funding of UNRWA comes from democratic, non-Arab countries...
  • Since 2008, the U.S. has given on average about $600 million a year to the Palestinians in bilateral aid: in 2013 the U.S. is giving $444 million. In addition, the U.S. has given $4,150 million to UNRWA since its establishment: it is the largest single state donor.
  • Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority... again laid blame on the "Israeli occupation" for the difficult economic situation of the Palestinians... This "occupation" exploited Palestinian resources and lands which directly led to an increase in deficit. In fact, the estimated budget deficit in 2013 is expected to be $1.4 billion. As a result he doubted that there would be funds available to pay the November salaries of the 150,000 PA workers... He did not try to define in which sinking hole the lost nearly $3 billion had gone.
  • U.S. aid has been given not only for humanitarian reasons, but also in the hopes that Palestinian terrorism may be ended, and that Palestinians would be encouraged to enter into the peace process. So far those hopes have been in vain.
  • Instead of dealing with the reality of Palestinian wastage and theft of financial resources, critics of Israel persist in their bias and prejudicial behavior. Typical of this is the vote of the Presbyterian Church, USA, to boycott all products from Israeli settlements in the disputed territories and its call to all nations "to prohibit the import of products made by enterprises in Israeli settlements on Palestinian land."
  • Instead of making peace with Israel the Palestinians have been wasting their resources. In view of the evident continuing corruption and mismanagement that almost everyone is now willing to acknowledge it is hard to take seriously, as some well meaning people have done, the Palestinian pretense of being victims of "Israeli oppression."
The leadership of the European Union, which obviously knows as much as we do and far more about this ongoing scandal has been silent since the London Times first reported it this past weekend. In any event, there is nothing new about it. We wrote here seven years ago
Don't be offended. But if you're a European who cares about what's being done with the taxes you pay to your government, the Palestinians are playing you for a fool. Not just you alone, but also your government, your politicians and your public-sector watchdogs.
Some earlier posts: 

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