Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority has "systemically and systematically used corruption and crime, and diverted funds donated for the development of the Palestinian state, to fund terrorism and to enrich its leadership."
So says Rachel Ehrenfeld, of the Center for the Study of Corruption and the Rule of Law, in a study released last week titled "The Palestinian Authority: Where does the Money Go?"[.pdf file]"
The study is full of fascinating tales on the origins of PLO and PA money: official contributions from Arab states, taxes on Palestinian wages, investments (legitimate and otherwise), extortion, charitable front organizations, illegal arms deals, fraud, money laundering, counterfeiting, monopoly businesses in the Palestinian territories owned by Arafat cronies, drug trafficking, graft, bribery, kickbacks, car theft, skimming of Palestinian workers' pension funds, and oh yes, donations from US and EU taxpayers.
And where does the money go? Of course, some of it goes to support what most would accept to be the customary functions of an emerging government. But a lot also goes into the pockets and private bank accounts of PA officials, from Arafat to Faisal Husseini to Mohammed Dahlan to Nabil Shaath and Jibril Rajoub. If you recognize a PA official's name from newspaper reports, chances are he's important enough to have his own off-the-books income stream. And the money also goes to buy and build illegal weapons, to pad the payrolls with terrorists, (or Tanzim activists as they are officially known), and to support propaganda and incitement to murder.
I always approach any such heavy-hitting article with some degree of healthy skepticism, but this particular report is well-documented, with over 100 footnotes from dozens of different sources, including official EU and PA records. It repeats some of the allegations reported by Die Zeit (here and here), and adds much, much more.
The scale of the corruption is astounding, and chances are that your tax dollars and mine are floating in that swamp. Read the whole thing. And then why don't you send a letter to your elected officials urging them to table any new subsidies to the PA.Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at November 01, 2002 06:47 AM