Sunday, December 29, 2019

Palestinian Leaders, Corruption and the Fear of Opinion Polls - by Khaled Abu Toameh

Palestinian leaders fear that reports about corruption could contribute to a drying up of international funding of the PA. If donor countries got whiff of the fact that their taxpayers' money is being squandered and stolen by senior PA officials, the cash cow might just kick over the PA bucket

Khaled Abu Toameh..
Gatestone Institute..
27 December '19..

Palestinian Authority leaders are upset: a survey published on December 11 by Transparency International, a global organization that "gives voice to the victims and witnesses of corruption," found that corruption is increasing in the PA and in five Arab countries.

Transparency International said that its survey, called "Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) – Middle East and North Africa," revealed that "almost two-thirds of all people (65%) in six countries surveyed think that corruption is getting worse in their country, and that their governments are not doing enough to end corruption."

The GCB report, one of the largest, most detailed surveys of citizens' views on corruption and experiences of bribery, incorporates the views of more than 6,600 citizens from Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan and Tunisia, according to Transparency International.

"For the first time, the GCB also measures the prevalence of wasta, or the use of personal connections, to access public services, in three countries: Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine," it said in a statement. "Despite the relatively low bribery rates in countries like Jordan and Palestine, citizens often resort to wasta in order to get public services they need."

According to the survey, more than one in three Jordanians, Palestinians and Lebanese who accessed pubic services used wasta in the previous 12 months. "This is equivalent to approximately 3.6 million people," Transparency International noted.

The survey also found that "in Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan, one in five people experiences sexual extortion -- or sextortion -- when accessing a government service, or knows someone who has."

In addition, the survey revealed that one in five Arabs, including Palestinians, paid a bribe to access public services, such as health care and education.

Majdi Abu Zaid, Executive Director of the Palestinian Coalition for Accountability and Integrity (AMAN), said that the findings of Transparency International were consistent with a recent poll his group conducted among Palestinians.

(Continue to Full Post)

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