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Today in the "Religion of Peace?"
On September 20th, 2003, the International Monetary Fund released their report entitled "West Bank and Gaza: Economic Performance and Reform Under Conflict Conditions". The IMF show a curious lack of curiosity as to where the money in the "Palestinian Authority" was going, namely to graft, corruption, and supporting terrorism. In the 131 page report, there are barely a few offhand references to corruption; instead, the report focuses on the opportunity for reform. There is also a heaping helping of veiled references to the you-know-who's "causing" a lot of suffering by the brave and resilient "Palestinians". Here's a few quotes from the IMF news conference in Dubai:
We had many different estimates of declines due to, of course, the recession that ensued, the conflict. Tourism stopped to a standstill. Palestinian workers could not work in Israel any more. There were checkpoints, and curfews, and roadblocks in various areas in the West Bank which basically fragmented the whole West Bank and, you know, paralyzed economic activity and paralyzed trade. So all of this, obviously, had a pretty disastrous effect on the economy, and there were estimates of declines reaching 50 percent of GDP.
[W]e wanted to find out what is it that made this economy still function and be resilient in the face of very severe external shocks.
Finally, I should say that this study could not have been possible without the new atmosphere of openness and transparency that has permeated the PA, particularly in the financial and fiscal sphere, under Minister Fayyad
For instance, in the study, for the first time, we have a table which covers the period from '95 to 2000, outlining the diversion of revenue from the budget to a special bank account controlled by President Arafat. We estimated that amount to be around US$900 million over a period of five years. So, I mean, this is the type of things that we were able to do in this new kind of atmosphere of openness.
[A]lthough the regime of closures, and checkpoints and other security infrastructure that has been imposed on the economy has definitely had a negative effect, the economy has been much more resilient than one might have expected. In fact, by looking at data for the first half of this year, there are signs it is even beginning to recover somewhat.
And because the banking system is still functioning, the residents in the West Bank and Gaza can continue to conduct their daily lives, making deposits, withdrawing money, writing checks, and so on. And that's another reason why the economy has been able to withstand this difficult situation better than might have been expected.
Notice that the list of activities in the residents' lives does not include "working", "generating capital", or "being productive". But maybe that's what he meant by "and so on".
It all sounds vaguely wonderfully promising. But two months later, World Tribune reported on an assessment by the U.S. government:
The United States has acknowledged that the Palestinian Authority has failed to end corruption and graft.
U.S. officials said PA Chairman Yasser Arafat continues to control all finances coming in to the PA. They said that despite efforts at reform, Arafat has managed to shuffle a range of funds so he can ensure the loyalty of Palestinian insurgents and his ruling Fatah movement.
The State Department appeared embarrassed by reports over the weekend that Arafat has embezzled huge amounts of money. This includes the transfer of $100,000 per month to Arafat's wife, Suha, who lives in Paris with her daughter.
"The history of financial improprieties in the Palestinian Authority, I think, is well known and longstanding, and, in fact, has been a major concern of ours," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said on Monday.
But not so major as to actually reduce U.S. aid to the "Palestinians".
In 2004, P.L.O./P.A. Minister of (Dis)Information Nabil Amr criticised Yasir Arafat and called for financial reform. He was shot twice in the leg by Arafat's Al Aqsa Martyr's Brigade. An Arab commentator wryly noted: "Amr waited until he built his villa and married off his daughter, all on funds given him by Arafat, before setting out on his crusade against corruption."
In 2006, following the death of Yasir Arafat (reportedly from AIDS), "Palestinian" reformers were again hot on the trail of corruption in their midst. USA Today reported:
Palestinian prosecutors froze bank accounts and seized assets of dozens of suspects in a widening corruption probe of senior government officials believed to have stolen hundreds of millions of dollars in public funds, the Palestinian attorney general said.
Earlier this week, al-Meghani said his investigation concluded that Palestinian Authority officials may have stolen billions of dollars from the public coffers. Some of the cases involved companies with ties to the Palestinian Authority.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has pledged to clean up the Palestinian Authority and his Fatah Party, both infested with corruption, but progress has been slow.
Al-Meghani said he has frozen the bank accounts and assets of dozens of suspects, but declined to give details. "It is a temporary freeze until we finish the investigation and the trials," he said.
He noted that one former suspect — Palestinian TV chief Hisham Miki who was killed by gunmen in 2001 — was believed to have stolen $23 million in public funds, and that his London apartment was seized during the investigation.
The mafia has internal struggles for control of their rackets, too. The fact that one faction uses a "corruption investigation" to liquidate their opponents is misinterpreted by the forever guillible kufirs that true reform is underway, just as peace with Israel is always just around the corner.
Previous Days in the "Religion of Peace™":
Sept 18: Persecution of Taslima Nasreen
Sept 17: Destruction of Library of Alexandria
Sept 16: Black September
Sept 15: Ottomans conquer Persia
Sept 14: Assassination of Gemayel