The Palestinian Money Pit
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The Palestinian Money Pit

Jun 8, 2012 at 08:19:58 AM

This week a Palestinian court in Ramallah sentenced Mohammed Rashid, the shadowy moneyman of Yasser Arafat, to 15 years in prison after convicting him of siphoning off $33.5 million of foreign donations.

In recent years, Palestinians have received billions of dollars of assistance – from the United States, European Union, United Nations (and an occasional token gift from Arab countries). Yet where has all this money gone? Where are all the Palestinian hospitals, schools, roads and bridges??

The answer is that the Palestinian Authority has taken billions of international aid dollars and squandered it on an array of guns, bombs and missiles, while lining the pockets of a successive stream of corrupt officials. Indeed, Yasser Arafat achieved the ignoble distinction of appearing on the Forbes' list of "Wealthiest Kings, Queens and Despots" – having embezzled hundreds of millions of international aid dollars from Palestinian coffers. (Arafat's widow, Suha, still receives a $22 million annual allowance from the PA, guaranteed for lifetime.)

This is not an Arafat-specific problem. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is worth an estimated $100 million. Abbas's son Yasser – surprise! – enjoys a monopoly on the sale of U.S.-made cigarettes in the Palestinian areas, and owns an engineering company which got paid $1.89 million in U.S. taxpayer funds to build a sewage system in the West Bank town of Hebron.

Still other American funds go to finance terror activities. According to senior Palestinian security officer Abu Yousuf, American-run programs to train Palestinian security forces have been instrumental in the "success" of terror attacks: "I do not think that the operations of the Palestinian resistance would have been so successful, and would have killed more than one thousand Israelis since 2000, and defeated the Israelis in Gaza without these [American] trainings," he said.

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen – Chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee – has tried to put a hold on $150 million of U.S. aid to Palestinians until some accounting is given as to where the money goes: "The U.S. has given $3 billion in aid to the Palestinians in the last five years alone, and what do we have to show for it?" she said. "Now the administration is sending even more. Where is the accountability for U.S. taxpayer dollars?"

Published: June 8, 2012


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Visitor Comments: 4

(4) arnnyc, June 11, 2012 8:25 AM

US aid to the PA

As the article has noted, despite demands from some Congressional members, the Obama Admin has sent billions to the PA with no accountability as to how & where these funds are spent. For 3 years, Obama has turned the back of his hand towards the Israeli government. Now as the election approaches, the administration claims to be the strongest pro-Israel administration in American history. A total joke meant to seek Jewish votes & contributions. Yes Hollywood liberals like Harvey Weinstein may knee jerk their support & dollars for Obama but it is time for the rest of American Jewry to wake up and admit that Obama is not a friend of Israel & has supported many in the Arab world which seeks its destruction (as it has not comndemend the Egyptian government for threatening to tear up Camp David nor threatened them with a reduction or denial of the over 2 billion dollars they receive in aid. The Administration has made no demands on the Palestinians to negotiate but demands endless Israeli concessions. Remember this before you contribute to his campaign or consider voting for him. After the election assume things will just be worse with the administration since it would no longer be facing re-election.

(3) Daniel, June 10, 2012 7:56 PM

Why on earth would the Palestinians want this to stop?

Peace and statehood would bring responsibility and accountability. Who in their right mind thinks that this is what these recipients want? Enough of saying, "the settlements are an obstacle to peace". Time for everyone to realize that while this cash river flows, peace prospects will be drowned.

(2) Anonymous, June 10, 2012 5:58 PM

what else is new

Again, it is always the people who suffer and lose. The corruption and embezzelment is legendary in the Middle East Arab world. when will the people shake off this and religious tyranny?

(1) Monica Pollans, June 10, 2012 3:48 PM

Doesn't surprise me

We should support Confresswoman Ros-Lehtinen's efforts to get answers on this funding. However, the thievery will continue and the Palestinians will always blame the Israelis for their misfortunes.

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