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Funding For Palestinians Dries Up

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The donor nations that have in the past been so generous in funding the Palestinian Authority have this year finally had enough, and have massively cut down the aid provided to 10% of what had previously been pledged. A report on this welcome development is here.

Palestinian prime minister Muhammad Shtayyeh is visiting Europe in a bid to resume the faltering funding that used to be a blank check from the EU.

International funding to the Palestinian Authority has declined this year, for the first time in decades. While the EU says that it hasn’t sent its usual $150 million to the PA this year for “technical reasons.” it appears that European taxpayers do not want to continue paying for the PA’s corruption.

The “technical reasons” cited by the EU since the beginning of the year as the reason it hasn’t sent any of the previously pledged $150 million surely do not exist. The reason for withholding the aid money is not a technical problem, but the EU’s decision to no longer tolerate so much of its aid money to the Palestinians being diverted into the pockets of PA leaders, their relatives and friends. After years of turning a blind eye, the European donors finally appear fed up with this. They know that Mahmoud Abbas, along with his two sons Yasser and Tareq, has amassed a family fortune of at least $400 million. They know that Yasser Arafat himself, according to the Americans, enriched himself with between one and three billion dollars. They know that two Hamas leaders, Khaled Meshaal and Mousa Abu Marzouk, according to both American and Arab sources, have each acquired at least $2.5 billion, with some claiming that Meshaal’s fortune may be as large as $5 billion. They know that Mohammad Dahlan, a former Fatah leader and Abbas rival, has his own nest egg of $100 million. Then there are the relatives and friends of the leaders who also benefit. Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies have provided sinecures – permanent positions for which little work is required – in the P.A. government for many dozens of their friends and relatives, who receive $10,000 a month in salaries, which is ten times as much as the average Palestinian wage. Abbas’ Prime Minister, Mohammed Shtayyeh, has an estimated net worth of $9 million, an amazing sum for someone whose salary – like that of his boss — has never gone beyond five figures. The EU donors have seen all this, seen the expensive villas of dozens of PA leaders in the “Diplomatic Compound” in Ramallah, seen the $13 million palace Mahmoud Abbas built for himself, and the $50 million private jet he bought with PA funds. All this has been the subject of growing alarm among EU donors for years, which was held in check until now, in 2021, the dam of outrage has finally burst. The EU is no longer willing to tolerate such massive corruption, and has halted its funding to the P.A.

Earlier this month Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde warned, “If we are to fully support economic development, then we can not have corruption at such a level as exists in Palestine.”…

The total aid expected by the Palestinian government this year is only 10% of the total pledges of donor countries to the PA. One official said that the funds expected to come later this month from France and the EU were earmarked in 2020, and the 2021 money has not yet come.

The rampant corruption of the Palestinian Authority is still barely reported in the media, even though it is well known to the international community and to Palestinians themselves. It contradicts the narrative that Palestinian suffering is all because of Israel, and therefore the media believes that reporting this [PA leaders’ corruption] will just confuse people – and cause them to lose interest in a conflict that is a cash cow for the news business.

The aid this year is only 10% of the total pledged previously by donors. Such a colossal decrease in donor aid is a clear sign that the Palestinians will have to clean up their finances, and end the intolerable level of corruption, before those donors will even consider renewing any of the aid they formerly provided. But can those so steeped in a culture o corruption ever change their ways, when that ability to steal from the aid money – and not the welfare of the Palestinians whom they claim to care about — is their main reason for being?


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