EU Funding.org


When Terror No Longer Pays

By Brad Nielson

July 26, 2004

In March 2004, a majority report of MEPs did not conclude that EU funded aid, directed towards the Palestinians, had ended up in the hands of the corrupt nor did it reach the perpetrators of violence.

During the Spring and early Summer of 2004, The Funding for Peace Coalition has monitored the break up of various parts of the PA empire. The complaints of Fatah members, mayors and others informed the world that the higher echelons of the PA have distanced themselves from the people. Power has become more centralized than ever. Bribery and campaigns of fear are the features of the regime.

Until mid July 2004, the challenge to the PA had been confined to Gaza. And as reported in an earlier commentary, many of the protagonists are not necessarily angels of democracy themselves.

There are now fresh challenges to the PA leadership, and this war of vitriol could have ramifications for Brussels as well.

"CountryWatch is a world leader in providing country specific geopolitical intelligence on each of the 192 countries of the world." On July 19, 2004, it filed a report based on Arab press commentaries of the situation in Gaza. The following quote is startling and damning in one:

Meanwhile, Qatar's pro-government ash-Sharq daily quoted former Palestinian Legislative Council Speaker Rafiq al-Natsheh as saying that he was removed from his position in March by Fatah, of which he was a member. He said he was "toppled" after he insisted on forming a committee to investigate an alleged $11 million that were transferred to the account of Arafat's wife, Suha, in Paris, and his readiness to unlock corruption issues within the Palestinian Authority. Al-Natsheh told the paper he intended to call on Palestinian Finance Minister Salam Fayad to reveal information on the alleged money transfers to Suha Arafat. He said he also wanted an investigation into accusations that Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia was supplying the Israeli Abu Ghnaim settlement in Jerusalem, or Har Homa, with cement blocks. The former Palestinian speaker described Arafat as the "protector of corruption and the corrupt." He added that the PA did not need foreign aid, saying there were billions of dollars that were in the possession of the authority, "but no one knows anything about the funds." Al-Natsheh also accused the "corrupt" of "toppling" the government of former Palestinian prime minister Mahmoud Abbas 10 months ago "because he had sought to organize matters and achieve reforms."

For the record, Dr. Rafiq al Natsheh was born in Hebron. He has followed a classic career path of a Fatah loyalist. He was sent to study in Moscow. He joined the Central Committee in 1980. He has served in the Palestinian cabinet since 1998.

In other words, one of Chairman Arafat's most trusted loyalist has yelled to the world: "The king has no clothes on". Donations from the EU, the World Bank, individual European governments and others have disappeared in one of the greatest financial scams of history.

And what is the current thinking in Brussels?

On April 21, 2004, Mr. Patten reported to the European Parliament Plenary Session in Strasbourg. He observed that: -

"Only recently I received a letter from the Palestinian Finance Minister Salam Fayyad which noted that with the help of the European Union the PA has now delivered on all of the reform commitments it had made to the Palestinian Legislative Council a year and a half ago. There is now a high degree of accountability with transparent budget procedures." Etc etc etc.

What follows is the complete listing from CountryWatch:

Review of the Arab press

AMMAN, Jordan, July 19 (UPI) -- Arab press roundup for July 19:

Arab newspapers Monday highlighted news and commentaries on the Palestinian crisis in the Gaza Strip, expressing concern that the crisis could spin out of control and serve only Israeli interests. The Saudi daily al-Yawm asked in its editorial when Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat would take "brave decisions" to save the Palestinian people from the threats of instability and absence of security. The paper, supervised by government censorship like others published in the kingdom, said the deteriorating conditions in the Palestinian territories, which it blamed on "mistakes," could not be viewed as a mere crisis because it meant further inter-Palestinian clashes. It said the military wing of the mainstream Fatah movement, led by Arafat, had started the confrontations with its own leadership. It added it was "very unfortunate for the Palestinian Authority leadership to be unable to take brave decisions, which would push Israel to exploit the opportunity to impose a reality that is not necessarily in the interests of the Palestinians." The daily warned that if Arafat did not stop the fighting, the internal turmoil in the Palestinian territories might "extend to other countries that could get involved in the crisis." It urged Arafat to take "important decisions, even if it costs the PA a high price."

The London-based al-Quds al-Arabi said in a commentary that the confusion and chaos in Gaza could quickly move to the West Bank and accused Arafat of continuing to make "bigger mistakes." The independent Palestinian-owned daily said the Palestinian leader's appointment of his cousin, Mousa Arafat, to head the Public Security Department, was a mistake because the new commander "is not less corrupt than his predecessor and is hated by most of the Palestinian people." The paper said that "when the police commanders are turned into brokers for drug smugglers, it is natural for the police to turn into an enemy of the people, and natural for its commander to be abducted and beaten in broad daylight." The daily, which has in recent years been critical of what it sees as Palestinian corruption, insisted that "all the Palestinian institutions are corrupt and illegitimate." It accused Arafat of allowing "this contagious corruption to spread until it turned the Palestinian political body into a decomposed corpse whose stench is overwhelming." It said the Palestinian Legislative Council's mandate "expired 5 years ago, and its elected members are preoccupied with their own benefits more than with people's concerns." The paper went on to say that the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization was "completely paralyzed and has become a senior citizens' home, just like the Central Committee of Fatah." It said the National Palestine Council, which acted as a Palestinian "parliament-in-exile" was now "extinct and no longer exists."

Meanwhile, Qatar's pro-government ash-Sharq daily quoted former Palestinian Legislative Council Speaker Rafiq al-Natsheh as saying that he was removed from his position in March by Fatah, of which he was a member. He said he was "toppled" after he insisted on forming a committee to investigate an alleged $11 million that were transferred to the account of Arafat's wife, Suha, in Paris, and his readiness to unlock corruption issues within the Palestinian Authority. Al-Natsheh told the paper he intended to call on Palestinian Finance Minister Salam Fayad to reveal information on the alleged money transfers to Suha Arafat. He said he also wanted an investigation into accusations that Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia was supplying the Israeli Abu Ghnaim settlement in Jerusalem, or Har Homa, with cement blocks. The former Palestinian speaker described Arafat as the "protector of corruption and the corrupt." He added that the PA did not need foreign aid, saying there were billions of dollars that were in the possession of the authority, "but no one knows anything about the funds." Al-Natsheh also accused the "corrupt" of "toppling" the government of former Palestinian prime minister Mahmoud Abbas 10 months ago "because he had sought to organize matters and achieve reforms."

Lebanon's al-Mustaqbal daily reported that Egypt took a final decision on Sunday to withdraw its plan to support the Palestinian security services in the Gaza Strip when it intended to dispatch experts. The paper, owned by Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, quoted its unnamed sources as saying that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak cancelled the trip of the experts to Gaza following the turbulence that erupted there. The sources added that Arafat would dispatch a senior envoy to Cairo soon to seek Egyptian support in his efforts to control the deteriorating conditions in Gaza. But they said Egypt might set a condition for its support to resolve the Palestinian crisis, namely that "Arafat gives up his absolute authority on the security services."

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