Friday, April 29, 2016

If Americans Really Knew

I recently had an exchange on Facebook with a brainwashed and totally bamboozled "Pro-Palestinian" who snided with a friend regarding a video from Studio SoCal T.V about hate speech on campus at UCLA by Students Supporting Israel founder Liat Menna stating:
"We give Israel 10 million a day of my tax money. And more in trade, we don't have to criticize anyone else to criticize them."

My immediate retort to Darlie was: "You give us $10 million a day" Hmm I will check my bank account but I don't see it?" Regretfully I am not as sophisticated as Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in embezzling funds!

This totally bamboozled "Lover of Palestine" then continued her diatribe by siting the web site run by Alison Weir, a well known anti-Israel anti-Zionist activist. CAMERA, a pro-Israel advocacy group has argued; "That the positions and statements of Weir and If Americans Knew (IAK),  raise serious doubts about the ability of her organization to credibly comment on American media coverage of the Israeli-Arab conflict." Weir also serves as president of The Council for the National Interest ("CNI")  which is yet another questionable anti-Israel and highly anti-AIPAC group.

The Anti-Defamation League has described Weir as; “a prominent voice in the anti-Israel movement.” The Jewish Voice for Peace, a group who are not exactly too keen on Israel, did not accuse Weir of holding anti-Jewish beliefs, but they did accuse her of granting interviews to people it believed held highly anti-Jewish beliefs. The Jewish Voice for Peace, decried some of the websites that have re-posted Alison Weir's writings. Those "highly reliable" web sites of "Cabal" conspiracies of the "Illuminati" aka "Rothschild-Jewish control of the world" psychotic minds wreaking of, dare I use the term, "anti-Semitism" to denote anti-Jewish / Israel "Good Old Boys" of the old time anti-"Semite" (Nazi -KKK- Aryan Race) persuasion. Websites that use all the words, theories and beliefs of that prominent American white nationalist William Luther Pierce III.

These losers who had once been swept in to the corner gutter and nearly forgotten, gleefully jumped out into the lime light at the anti-Holocaust meeting in Tehran. Led by that "KKKnight in shinning armor" former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, David Dukes. These psychotic virulent Jew haters have been embraced by the "Lovers of Palestine" and together they have initiated a Billboard Campaign to discredit Israel and to force the end of US Aid to Israel with Alison Weir's blessing.

This theme of "Stop Aid to Israel" has taken many forms and this latest one is in the forefront of the postings by these sick hate filled psychos of the "Lovers Of Palestine". I countered her claim by referring her to my previous entry on the subject of US AID to Israel.
"Though aid to Israel has detractors as well as supporters, overall U.S. public support for Israel remains strong. According to a February 2015 Gallup poll that measured Americans’ sympathies toward the disputants in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 62% said their sympathies lie with the Israelis and 16% said their sympathies lie with the Palestinians.
 According to a February 2015 Pew Research Center poll, “48% of respondents say that the level of U.S. support for Israel is about right; 29% say the U.S. is not supportive enough of Israel, while 18% say it is too supportive.”
 Neither of these surveys explicitly examined public opinion regarding U.S. aid to Israel." Congressional Research Service, U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel June 10, 2015.

Now in contrast to Foreign Aid to Palestine, it is quite a different story ALL together.

"The President of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Mahmoud Abbas is building a $13 million palace in Ramallah, according to the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction (PECDAR) which published an announcement of the massive construction project.

PA sources told Maan news that the palace was not a personal home for Abbas, but is to be used as a leadership headquarters and a facility to receive guests and world leaders."

Gaza residents still homeless
"Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip receive one of the highest levels of unrecorded aid in the world."
Aid has been offered to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and other Palestinian Non-governmental organizations (PNGOs) by the international community, including International Non-governmental Organizations (INGOs) and the funds are largely unaccounted for.

According to certain analyses, Palestinians are the largest per capita recipients of international development assistance in the world (Lasensky [2004], 211, Lasensky-Grace [2006])."

According to a recent article in Britain’s Sunday Times, the European Court of Auditors (ECA), an EU organ set up in 1975 to audit the EU’s income and spending, who visited Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank, found that Europe had little control over €1.95 billion ($2.64 billion) spent in the West Bank and Gaza between 2008 and 2012, noting “significant shortcomings.” 

They also reported their inability to address “high-level risks” such as “corruption or funds not being used for their intended purpose.”

Also "Transparency International", a Berlin-based watchdog monitoring corporate and political corruption, claimed that the state of paralysis afflicting the Palestinian parliament since 2007 has “given the executive unlimited management over public funds.” Nepotism is also commonplace in the Palestinian public and private sectors, the organization claimed."

"Until his death in November 2004, former PA President Yasser Arafat controlled Palestinian finances and faced widespread criticism for his lack of transparency, corruption, and misuse of foreign aid. Some observers described Arafat’s use of the PA treasury as his “personal cash-box” and allege that almost half of the $7 billion provided to the PA since its creation in the early 1990's may have been diverted by Arafat to political patronage and kickbacks.

Although the extent of Arafat’s misuse of PA money was never fully known, Israeli leaders, Palestinian reformers, and others repeatedly accused Arafat and his inner circle of corruption; "...nevertheless, his total domination of Palestinian political life made him indispensable to those seeking his cooperation in achieving regional peace and many were forced to ignore such charges." David Samuels, “ In a Ruined Country,” Atlantic Monthly, September 2005.

During the past 20 years, the U.S. has invested $4.5 billion in promoting democracy among the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and boosting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
What the naive Americans and Europeans do not know is that most some say as high as 90% of the $4.5 billion the Americans have invested in promoting Palestinian democracy went down the drain or ended up in secret Swiss bank accounts.

Just how many in the world realize that the Palestinians do not have a functioning parliament or a free media under the PA in the West Bank or under Hamas in the Gaza Strip?

The Palestinian Authority lives outside the laws of politics, nature and economics as it and Hamas occupy a split territory with two feuding governments -- both dictatorships with all the arbitrariness and lack of accountability implied within. Their multiple armed fractions on occasion fight each other and often times murder Israelis. They have an educational system that teaches children to stab and murder. They teach their children, and the bamboozled of the world, that the Jews are usurpers of their land as they spread they denial of the historical connection of the Jews to the land, They venerate and wax on a civic culture that venerates suicide bombers and the mothers who seem to revel in their children's bloody demise; and an economy that produces nothing of export value.

And, of course, when was the last time Palestinians actually had presidential or parliamentary elections?

I ask; "Have any of the detractors of US Aid to Israel every carried out any REAL audit or an accounting of the money invested in projects in various Palestinian sectors?"

Palestinian economic analysts estimate that the PA has received a total of $25 billion in financial aid from the U.S. and other countries during the past two decades.

Leaked documents, such as that signed by Majdi al-Khaldi an adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, asked Bahrain's foreign minister for $4 million to fund a private neighborhood complex for Palestinian diplomats in Ramallah.

Another document by Nazmi Muhanna, general director of the Palestinian Crossing and Borders Authority, requested the government pay for his daughter's schooling.

There was also receipt for $50,000 given to Yaser Abbas, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' son, who bought several apartments in a complex in a prestigious area of Ramallah.

One does not have to be an expert on Palestinian affairs to see that the billions of dollars have neither created democracy for the Palestinians nor boosted the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Tariq Dana in his article Corruption in Palestine: A Self-Enforcing System, states:
 "Corruption in Palestinian Authority (PA) institutions should not be perceived as merely a matter of administrative and financial wrongdoing committed by irresponsible individuals whose behavior is driven by greed and personal interests. The scandals that Palestinians hotly debate from time to time – such as embezzlement of public funds, misappropriation of resources, and nepotism – are an outcome of longstanding corruption embedded in the underlying power structure that governs the Palestinian political system and that were rooted in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) prior to the Oslo process.""... much of Palestinian society is based on tribal/clan/family social relations, the PA has sought to accommodate large families in order to ensure their loyalty. When the PA established its Ministry of Local Government, it included a special department concerned with tribal/clan affairs. The Ministry recognizes mukhtars (head of tribes/clans) and authorizes them to speak on behalf of their families. Whereas tribalism had been marginalized by the rise of the national movement, during the 1990s the PA appointed some representatives of prominent families to ministerial posts based on tribal considerations. These ministries subsequently were largely staffed with the ministers’ relatives and friends. After the state-building reforms of recent years, there was less employment based on family considerations. Instead, however, some ministers have surrounded themselves with cronies."
Since the creation of the Palestinian Authority, which was born out of the 1993 Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO, it has never been a democratic regime. On the contrary; what the Palestinians got from the start was a mini-dictatorship run by Yasser Arafat and his PLO and Fatah cronies. It was a corrupt regime, was directly funded and armed by the U.S., Europe and several other countries.

Mohammed Rashid who served as Arafat's financial advisor and was given a free hand to handle hundreds of millions of dollars that were poured on the Palestinian Authority and the PLO by US, EU and Arab donors embezzled millions. Rashid is now considered one of the wealthiest Palestinians anywhere and the Palestinian Authority officials have estimated his fortune at more than half a billion dollars. Rashid left the Palestinian territories almost immediately after his boss, Arafat, died in late 2004 and the Palestinian Authority did absolutely nothing to bring him to trial or return at least some of the missing funds.
It was not until Rashid appeared on a Saudi-owned TV station and threatened to expose corruption scandals in the Palestinian Authority leadership that they finally woke up and remembered that Rashid was suspected of embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars of Foreign Aid. The Anti-Corruption Commission of the PA in Ramallah announced that it issued an arrest warrant against the former Arafat adviser and asked Interpol for help in bringing him to trial.

Rashid, was not "just" a junior official in the Palestinian Authority, he was a trusted insider, someone who was very close to Arafat and probably the only official who knows where hundreds of millions of dollars ended up.
The Palestinian Authority's decision to issue an arrest warrant against him does not seem to worry Rashid, who this week demanded a probe into Abbas's personal fortune, which he estimated at more than $100 million.

Abbas and the Palestinian Authority on the other-hand are accusing Rashid with stealing hundreds of millions of dollars, while Rashid in return is accusing President Abbas of embezzling "a paltry" $100 million. Meanwhile this "tit for tat' exchange is happening at a time when international donors are continuing to channel more funds every month to the Palestinian Authority, often without holding its leaders accountable or demanding to know how the money is being spent.

Due to Rashid's testimony in the Televised interview Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were unable to view the website Donia al-Watan as The Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah blocked access through the PA-controlled telecom company  because of the site’s reporting on the widespread corruption among the entourage of PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas issued the order to block the site without any due process, legal notice or opportunity for defense, a report published on the site stated. “We are surprised at these violations emanating from the president of the PA who appears to have forgotten that he was one of the biggest critics of the policies of the late Abu Ammar [Yasser Arafat]. The late former leader of the Palestinian Authority Yasser Arafat never signed off on such orders and did not shut down publications," said the website’s editor Abdallah al-Issa.

Al-Issa in a telephone interview from Gaza City with the Pro-Palestinian web site "Electronic Intifada" that his website had published dozens of stories about corruption since it was founded in 2003. When Arafat was in office, the site would receive complaints, he said, but no such action had ever been taken against them. Al-Issa criticized Arafat for failing to stem corruption, “but at least we could write about it.”

In an article entitled “The Ramallah Banana Republic,” al-Issa severely criticized the Abbas-led Authority for acting illegally in blocking his site, and called for solidarity from local and foreign journalists and international human rights organizations to pressure Abbas to reverse the decision to censor the website.

Since its 1994 founding under the Oslo Accords, the PA’s credibility has been hit by allegations of rampant corruption. In early 2006, the PA Attorney-General Ahmad al-Meghanni – the same official who ordered the censorship of Donia al-Watan – publicly reported that he was investigating no fewer than 52 cases of official corruption. These totaled hundreds of millions of dollars and involved numerous senior officials of the PA and affiliated companies.

Earlier this year, Rawhi Fattouh, a close ally of Abbas and former speaker of the Palestinian legislative council was caught smuggling thousands of cell phones into the Israeli-occupied West Bank from Jordan. However, none of these cases have ever resulted in convictions or the return of stolen public funds and foreign aid money to the Palestinian people.

A Palestinian opinion poll conducted in July 2012 found that 71 percent of respondents believed that corruption existed in PA institutions under the control of President Mahmoud Abbas. Some 57% of respondents said the same of Hamas-controlled institutions in the Gaza Strip. 

I ask; "So if the Palestinians themselves believe there is wide spread corruption then why is nothing being done?"

All of this shows clearly that the worlds blind "investments" in Palestinian democracy and peace with Israel has been a complete failure because of the refusal of the international community to hold Arafat, Abbas and Haniyeh accountable. It is the abject corruption within the Palestinian Leadership that a majority of Palestinians were are being driven into the open arms of Hamas.

The Palestinian people in Gaza, in Judea and Shomron as well as in refugee camps have not seen any improvement in their living conditions because of this corruption. That is why they turned to Hamas, which promised them change, reform and an end to financial corruption and that is why we see this in the recent student elections at Bir Zeit University.

So unless Western donors demand that the PA use their money to bring democracy to its people and prepare them for peace, the prospects of reviving any peace process will remain zero.

No comments:

Post a Comment