Corruption & mis-management in the PA – Who would have thought it?

In one form or another, the news headlines screamed from all corners of the globe this morning –

 “EU accuses Palestinians of wasting €2 billion in aid”  

Leaked report alleges ‘significant shortcomings’ in PA’s fund management – Times of Israel

£1.95bn EU aid lost in Palestine – Times, London

Massive scandal in Palestinian Arab Financial Affairs?

No! – This ongoing war blogspot

Billions of Dollars of Aid to Palestinian Authority Lost to Corruption – Algemeiner

Billions of dollars in international aid granted to the Palestinian Authority may have been squandered, lost to corruption, or misspent, a new report by the European Court of Auditors, the Luxembourg-based watchdog, revealed, The Sunday Times reported.

Roughly €2.3 Billion ($3.1 Billion) made its way from Europe to the Palestinian territories between 2008 and 2012, but much of it is unaccounted for, the report said.

According to The Sunday Times, which got an early glimpse of the report,

“EU investigators who visited sites in Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank noted ‘significant shortcomings’ in the management of funds sent to Gaza and the West Bank.

“The auditors complained about the lack of measures to ‘mitigate’ high-level’ risks, such as ‘corruption or of funds not being used for their intended purpose,’” The Times .

Where does the money go?

“The Palestinian Authority’s Inconvenient Truths – Gatestone Institute”

The truth sometimes hurts; that is why the Palestinian Authority has been working hard to prevent the outside world from hearing about many occurrences that reflect negatively on its leaders or people.

In recent years, the Palestinian Authority leadership, often with the help of the mainstream media in the US and EU, has been successful in its effort to divert all attention only toward Israel.

Following are examples of some of the inconvenient truths that the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank do not want others to know about:

– Over 100 senior PLO and Fatah officials hold Israeli-issued VIP cards that grant them various privileges denied to most Palestinians. Among these privileges is the freedom to enter Israel and travel abroad at any time they wish. This privileging has existed since the signing of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO in 1993.

– Out of the 600 Christians from the Gaza Strip who arrived in the West Bank to celebrate Christmas, dozens have asked to move to Israel because they no longer feel comfortable living under the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

– Dozens of Christian families from East Jerusalem have moved to Jewish neighborhoods in the city because they too no longer feel comfortable living among Muslims.

– Palestinian Authority security forces in the West Bank continue to summon and arrest political opponents, journalists and bloggers who dare to criticize the Palestinian leadership.

– The Palestinian Authority government, which has been complaining about a severe financial crisis for the past few months, just cancelled outstanding electricity debts for Palestinians in the West Bank. Palestinians pay their bills to the Arab Jerusalem Electric Company, which buys electricity from the Israeli Electric Company; the Palestinians have not been paying their electricity bills and many have been stealing electricity from their Arab company.

– Tens of thousands of Palestinian Authority civil servants in the Gaza Strip receive salaries to stay at home and not work. The practice has been in effect since Hamas seized control over the Gaza Strip in 2007. According to Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf, the Palestinian Authority, which is funded mostly by American and European taxpayer money, spends around $120 million each month on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

– Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction has allocated more than one million dollars for celebrations marking the 48th anniversary of the “launching of the revolution” — a reference to the first armed attack carried out by Fatah against Israel.

– Despite the calls for an economic boycott of Israel, more than 40,000 Palestinians have received permits to work in Israel. Moreover, another 15,000 Palestinians continue to work in Jewish settlements in spite of an official ban.

– Top PLO and Fatah officials continue to do their shopping in Israeli-owned businesses both in the West Bank and Israel. Last week, for example, a member of the PLO Executive Committee and his family were spotted shopping in Jerusalem’s Malha mall. Of course, the PLO official did not forget to bring along his private driver and maid.

– The wife of a senior PLO official recently spent $20,000 for dental treatment in Tel Aviv at a time when there is no shortage of renowned Palestinian dentists in Ramallah, Bethlehem and Nablus.

These are only some of the inconvenient truths that the Palestinian Authority does not want the outside world to know. Palestinian journalists often avoid reporting about such issues out of concern for their safety or for “ideological” reasons. These journalists have been taught that it is forbidden to hang out the dirty laundry.

U.S. Bilateral Assistance to the Palestinians, FY2006-FY2013 is $440million. Read here:

During the final year of President George W. Bush’s Administration, President Bush issued waivers providing $300 million in direct budgetary assistance to the PA. President Barack Obama has followed the precedent Bush established by authorizing a total of $550 million in direct budgetary assistance during his first two years in office, as follows:

• In July 2009, $200 million in ESF money were transferred to the PA in the wake of a presidential waiver issued by President Obama.
• In November 2009, $75 million in budgetary assistance were provided to the PA under the July presidential waiver as an advance on FY2010 ESF funds, pursuant to a continuing resolution (later appropriated pursuant to P.L. 111-117).
• In April 2010, another $75 million in budgetary assistance from the ESF account were provided to the PA via presidential waiver.
• In November 2010, $150 million in budgetary assistance were provided to the PA via presidential waiver as an advance on FY2011 ESF funds, pursuant to the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011 (P.L. 111-242).
• In August 2011, $50 million in budgetary assistance from the ESF account were provided via presidential waiver.

Jan 18, 2013 – U.S. Foreign Aid to the Palestinians. Congressional Research Service.  Download PDF here.

This report is dated 2011.

“Palestinians receive more aid per capita than any other people on the planet “ Here:

International aid to Palestine

From the new Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2011

ElderofZion – In absolute terms, Sudan receives the most aid and “Palestine” the second most (the gap is narrowing in recent years.)

But on a per-capita basis, the Palestinian Arabs receive about 9 times as much aid as the Sudanese do, and of course far more aid per capita than any other people on the planet.

Keep that in mind when the next mall, five star hotel or seaside resort opens in Gaza or the West Bank.

Or ask yourself whether Palestinian Arabs deserve 39 times the aid per capita that residents of the Congo receive.

This from Procon.org was written in 2006 but gives a good insight into how much money the PA receives, the point it where is it?

This contains a comprehensive list of how much money many countries give.

Where Did the Billions Given to the Palestinians Go? – United with Israel

Question  “Can you please explain to me why 20 years after Oslo and billions in dollars in foreign aid, the Palestinian Authority (PA) still has not built modern hospitals? Or rather, why do the donor countries pour money down the PA drain without expecting even some face-saving results?”

Good question.

Short answer: Swiss bank accounts. In other words, a huge amount of the money has been stolen. There is nothing more distasteful than rulers of a people–especially a poor people–who complain about their subjects’ suffering at the same time that they profit from it. Of course, when some foreign observer sees Palestinians in poor conditions they blame Israel, thus furthering the cause of the same leaders who, -by their intransigent policies, ensure that the situation continues.

The personal wealth of PA “president” Mahmoud Abbas is estimated at $100 million. Add onto that millions of dollars for a large number of PA and Fatah senior officials along with the hundreds of millions of dollars that Yasir Arafat carried off and you get the idea. Remember, too, that this total of about a half-dozen billion dollars has gone to an entity ruling just over two million people over the last twenty years.

Villa in Tunis

I have seen the villas of the PLO leaders in Tunis and the PA leaders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. I have followed in detail the saga not only of Yasir Arafat’s personal stash but also how he used corruption to sustain his political control. And his heirs mostly continue to run the Palestinian movement.

 No doubt, like Arafat, the  money will be traced sometime, but retrieving it may be a whole other issue.

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6 comments

  1. Next time anyone asks for money for the poor Palestinians, it would be good to show them this article. Presumably Tim Costello’s World Vision is sending taxpayers’ money to support the luxurious lifestyles of corrupt leaders in Gaza and the inaccurately-named West Bank.

  2. …and let’s not forget the lavish villas built for the Gazan tunnel millionaires.
    Gaza is awash with money, but much of it is concentrated in the hands of Hamas and privileged families, who have an interest in deflecting the blame and keeping the masses angry at the Israelis for their wretched conditions.