Friday, October 18, 2019

From Arafat to Abbas: Lubing the Palestinian Authority donor machine - by David Bedein

Western donor humanitarian funds have one purpose: to act as a political resource for Abbas and his supporters. The notion that humanitarian aid to the P.A. reaches the Palestinian Arab people has no basis in reality.

David Bedein..
17 October '19..

When it comes to humanitarian aid to the Palestinian Authority, transparency does not exist.

The result has become a wealthy Palestinian elite that builds exclusive neighborhoods around Ramallah, leaving thousands of shoddily constructed apartments without services for the rest of Palestinian society.

Yasser Arafat set the tone for the P.A. when he arrived in Gaza in 1994. Arafat took control of every contract and investment, using donor money to build a secret $1 billion portfolio, including investments in Coca-Cola, a Tunisian cellular phone company and venture-capital funds in the United States and the Cayman Islands.

Arafat stole $1 billion in tax revenue relayed by Israel for Palestinian workers. The money went to Arafat’s personal account in Israel’s Bank Leumi in Tel Aviv. And a whopping $100,000 a month went to his wife, Suha, living in Paris. Arafat was estimated by U.S. investigators to be worth between $1 billion and $3 billion.

Within three years of the P.A.’s establishment, Palestinian auditors found that 40 percent of the P.A. budget ($326 million) was misappropriated—a figure that rose to $700 million a decade later.

Not one Western government objected. This set the tone for theft at all levels in the P.A.; officials paid themselves high salaries and skimmed from others.

Enter Mahmoud Abbas

Under Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas, nepotism reached every level of civil service.

(Continue to Full Column)

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