For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
“If the current state of corruption in the Palestinian Authority continues, we will lose the West Bank to Hamas,” said Fahmi Shabaneh, a 49-year-old intelligence official who until recently, headed the "anti-corruption unit" in Mahmoud Abbas's General Intelligence Service. “What happened in the Gaza Strip will repeat itself in the West Bank.”
Shabaneh, who lives in Jerusalem with his wife and five children, is now willing to speak out because, he explains, he has reached the conclusion that Abbas and his authority are not serious about ending the corruption.
The international community, particularly the donor countries, need to ask themselves: How come Hamas’s chances of extending its control from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank remain so high after all the billions of dollars in financial aid that has been poured on Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad?
The Palestinian intelligence official has a clear answer to this question. "But," he continues, “The Americans and the Europeans don’t want to listen to people like me.”
His advice to the US and the EU: “Please don’t give money unconditionally. Yes, the Palestinians need your financial assistance and thanks for your willingness to help, but you must follow up to see where the money ends up.”
Shabaneh says he has evidence that huge sums have been stolen by senior Palestinian officials. “The money hasn’t been going to the right hands and places,” he charged. “Had some of this money been invested for the welfare and prosperity of the Palestinians, we would be in a much better situation today."
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"