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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Top Abu Mazen aide caught trying to smuggle cell phones

The former speaker of the 'Palestinian parliament,' who is now a top aide to 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen was caught today trying to smuggle 3000 cellular phones from Jordan into Israel. The aide, Rauhi Fattouh, is denying the accusations and is claiming that it was his driver - and not him - who loaded the cell phones into the car.
This would not be the first time that PA officials use their Israeli-issued VIP passes to smuggle goods into the Palestinian territories.

Fattouh and the driver were caught by customs officers during a routine check of their vehicle and baggage.

After discovering the cellular phones, the customs officers summoned the police, who briefly detained the two for questioning.

The police then reported the incident to the office of Maj.-Gen. Yosef Mishlav, coordinator of government activities in the Palestinian territories, who decided to temporarily revoke Fattouh's VIP pass.

"My driver has acted in an immoral and irresponsible manner," Fattouh told The Jerusalem Post. "He has exploited his position as driver of a senior official to smuggle the phones. He also used an official vehicle in violation of regulations."

Fattouh said that as soon as he learned about the confiscation of the smuggled cellular phones, he contacted the Palestinian security forces, asking them to detain the driver. "An investigation is underway to determine who's behind this attempt and whether the driver had accomplices," Fattouh said.

A PA security official in Ramallah said the driver has admitted to being behind the smuggling attempt. The official said the driver also admitted to having a Jordanian accomplice.

"The driver said that he tried to smuggle the cellular phones without Fattouh's knowledge," the official told the Post. "He has caused huge damage to Fattouh's reputation."

Fattouh accused the Israeli media of "exaggerating" the story. He also lashed out at the Israeli authorities for allegedly leaking the story to the media. Fattouh said he was enraged and saddened not because of the media reports as much as the feeling that he had been "betrayed" by his personal driver.
Let's just say that cell phones in Israel cost much more than they do in any other country in which I have priced them out. I have no idea what they cost in Jordan.

And you want to tell me that the driver loaded three thousand cell phones into the car and Fattouh didn't know about it? I don't believe that for a minute.

Better get Abu Mazen to give Fattouh a raise. Or get Fattouh to get smuggling lessons from Mahmoud Zahar. Come to think of it, maybe that's what's going on in the picture at the top of this post. That's Zahar on the left and Fattouh on the right.


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