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Monday, March 12, 2007

The shell game

No one seems to know which shell the money is under, but all of the shells apparently pay off for the 'Palestinians.'

The London Sunday Telegraph reported yesterday that designated 'Palestinian' 'Finance Minister' (if there is ever a 'unity government') Salam Fayad said that he has no clue where more than 362 million pounds have disappeared over the last year:
In the 14 months since Hamas won elections, Palestinian finances have descended into such chaos that there is now no way to confirm whether aid is going to its stated purpose, according to Salam Fayyad, 54, who is poised to start his second stint as treasury chief once the rival Hamas and Fatah factions finalise a "unity" government.

An estimated £362.5 million has flowed into Palestinian government coffers from abroad since the election that brought Hamas to power and ushered in a period of internal conflict that came close to all-out civil war.

The European Union alone provided £59.5 million last year and sent a far greater sum directly to hospitals, power generation projects and to families in need.

Now, Palestinian Authority spending is out of control, salaries are being paid to workers who never turn up, and nobody can track where the money is going, according to Mr Fayyad.

There was no way to be certain that aid was being used as intended, he admitted. "Please write this: no one can give donors that assurance. Why? Because the system is in a state of total disrepair."
But one thing is certain: despite the 'boycott' of the Hamas-led government aid to the 'Palestinians' actually increased last year.
Ironically foreign aid to Palestinians increased, either carried across the border into Gaza in cash-stuffed briefcases by Hamas officials, or through a special financial channel to the office of President Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the rival Fatah faction with whom the West is prepared to work.

As a result, Mr Fayyad said, incoming funds have been widely dispersed with no central authority to monitor them. Some have gone to people who do not appear on the Palestinian budget ledger. "Where is the control?" asked Mr Fayyad. "It's gone. Where is all the transparency? It's gone."
But at the History News Network, Judith Klinghoffer has a very different concern. She refers to the 'Palestinian Authority' as "the ultimate parasite entity." (Hat Tip: Nathan L.) She cites an interview with Fayad in which he says that the 'Palestinian Authority' brings in only 10% of its own 'needs' each month. She ends off with this line:
Food for thought - Palestinians outside the PA (including those in Israel and Jordan) have no difficulty earning their keep and more.
Here's some more food for thought: how much of the 'Palestinian Authority's' $160 million monthly budget is going to pay for weapons and for pensions/death benefits for terrorists?


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