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Sunday, March 30, 2008

How is Fatah still infested with corruption? Let me count the ways!

In the weekend edition of the JPost, Khaled Abu Toameh recited some of the seemingly endless corruption cases with which 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen's 'good terrorists' from Fatah continue to be infected.
THE MOST serious scandal involves former PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei, who currently heads the Palestinian negotiating team with Israel. According to a document released by PA ambassador to Romania, Adli Sadek, Qurei deposited $3 million of PLO funds into his private bank account.

Qurei was forced to publish a strong denial in the Palestinian media. While admitting that he did take the money, Qurei said he transferred the sum to a PLO bank account. He added that the $3m. were part of a $5m. investment that had been deposited in a bank account under Yasser Arafat's name.

Qurei has also been forced to deny charges that he and his sons own a cement factory that has been supplying concrete for the construction of Israel's West Bank security fence and new homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Qurei is convinced that some of his rivals in Fatah are trying to discredit him so as to destroy his chances of emerging as potential successor to Abbas, whose term in office expires early next year. Sources close to Qurei have named former Fatah security commander Muhammad Dahlan and top PLO official Yasser Abed Rabbo as those behind the "smear campaign." Qurei has demanded that Fatah take disciplinary measures against the two, vowing to file libel suits against all those who try to damage his reputation.

Another scandal that erupted last weekend involves Rouhi Fattouh, former speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council who currently serves as Abbas's "personal representative and adviser."

Fattouh is suspected of exploiting his Israeli-issued VIP pass to smuggle thousands of cellular phones from Jordan into the West Bank. He was caught by Israeli custom officers at the Allenby Bridge. Denying any link to the phones that were found in his vehicle, Fattouh chose to blame his driver for the botched smuggling attempt.

However, Fattouh's denial did not leave a positive impression on his boss, who rushed to suspend him from his job pending a criminal investigation. Sources close to the investigation claim that other top Fatah leaders were part of a network that specialized in smuggling various goods across the border.

Also this week, the Fatah-dominated security forces announced that they had confiscated large shipments of expired medicine that had been illegally smuggled into the West Bank. Dozens of physicians, pharmacists and officials from the PA's Ministry of Health are currently being interrogated for their alleged role in the medicine scandal, which is believed to have resulted in the death of many patients.

As if all this were not enough, Abbas's prosecutor-general, Ahmed al-Mughni, announced this week that he had ordered an investigation against Khaled Salam, who for many years served as Arafat's "financial adviser."

The probe was launched following reports that the adviser was planning to invest at least $600m. in a tourist project in the resort town of Aqaba in Jordan. Although Salam does not hold any official position in the PA, he is known to have close relations with Abbas and many of his aides.
No wonder Israeli Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert gets along so well with them. They're birds of a feather!


At 11:47 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The unintended effect of all those Israeli concessions will probably end up strengthening Hamas in Judea and Samaria.

No one in Israel really believes that if push came to shove, the PA could resist a Hamas takeover. All that's keeping Abbas in power are IDF bayonets.

His Fatah regime's depth of corruption is a testament to its lack of support on the Palestinian street. No wonder Salam Fayyad wasn't smiling at today's press conference. Israel's munificence don't help Abbas much at home - as though he could build support beyond his own presidential palace in Ramallah.


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