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by Khaled Abu Toameh


Donor countries have yet to respond to revelations by former Palestinian intelligence official Fahmi Shabaneh that top Palestinian Authority officials are continuing to pocket millions of dollars earmarked for financial aid to the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Shabaneh expressed frustration over the way the international media has been handling his exposures: "Don't the Americans, Europeans and Arabs care about their money that is being stolen? If they continue to turn a blind eye to the corruption of the Palestinian Authority, Hamas will eventually take over the West Bank the same way they took the Gaza Strip."

Nearly a month after Shabaneh, who headed the anti-corruption unit in the General Intelligence Service, revealed in an exclusive interview with The Jerusalem Post that some of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's close aides and loyalists had siphoned off hundreds of millions of dollars to private bank accounts, decision-makers in the US and EU continue to bury their heads in the sand.

The foreign media has continued to cover the story as if it were only a "sex scandal" in Abbas's bureau — a reference to a videotape revealed by Shabaneh showing Rafik Husseini, director of the president's bureau, naked in a woman's bedroom.

Following are examples of some of how, according to Shabaneh, international aid to the Palestinians is being "hijacked" by "thieves and thugs in the inner circle of Mahmoud Abbas."

These are only a few samples of the hundreds of cases Shabaneh dealt with when he was in his job, according to the former Palestinian intelligence official, who is now "wanted" by the Palestinian Authority on charges of "collaboration with the Israeli enemy." . He maintains that he has many of the documents and files to back up his charges that the Palestinian Authority and many of its leaders and representatives are continuing to steal financial aid.

"This is not only about a sex scandal," Shabeneh stressed. The sex scandal is only the tip of the iceberg. Shabaneh says that since Abbas appointed him as the chief corruption-buster in the Palestinian Authority six years ago, he has collected incriminating evidence against dozens of senior officials, in addition to the president's two sons, Yasser and Tarek. "I don't know why most people in the West are treating this case as if it were only about a senior official caught naked in a woman's bedroom."

Abbas, meanhwile, has cut off Shabaneh's salary to punish him for speaking out against corruption -- as the international community and the media, through their silence, continue empowering Hamas.

Khaled Abu Toameh writes for the Jerusalem Post. This article was published February 23, 2010 on the Hudson Institute, New York website. still-stealing-hundreds-of-millions-hamas-taking-over.php


Editor's Addendum

Counting from 1995 on, Arafat's known budget under his control was around 1 billion per year. After his death in 2004, the European Union, the U.N., the United States, Israel, and some Arab states have continued to pour money into supporting the Palestinian people. This February President Obama announced the U.S. will donate $40 million to UNRWA designated for the Palestinian Authority (PA), "despite a report commissioned by the European parliament, which showed that Hamas terrorists have been chosen by the agency's labor union to oversee its Gaza facilities, which was part of a Canadian decision last month to stop its UNRWA funding" (Arutz-Sheva). A year ago, he pledged some $130 million to train and give weapons to upgrade Abbas' security police — many of them have only had on-the-job training while engaged in committing terrorist acts — while Sec-State Clinton pledged $600 million to help run the PA and $300 million for humanitarian aid. Add in $125 million for migration and $109 million for Narcotics Control. And that's just from the U.S., aside from its ordinary U.N. contribution, some of which also go to the P.A., which like the U.N. itself, is corrupt and incompetent.

The Europe Union is also an enthusiastic contributer. In 2007, international donors pledged $7.4 billion to the P.A. to fight Hamas. Finance Minister Fayyad immediately declared, as Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld wrote (, June 1, 2009), "PA would give Hamas 40% ($3.1 billion) of the funds." Hamas also receives millions to rebuild Gaza. Ehrenfeld pointed out, "The newly pledged international aid to the Palestinians would amount to $1,125-$1,300 dollars to each of the 4 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. This is on top of hundreds of millions of dollars in 'humanitarian aid' sent by Israel, the U.S., European Union (EU), Saudi Arabia, Iran and other international organizations to Hamas- controlled Gaza, since December 2008. In comparison, from 2003 to 2006 each of 2.5 million Darfur refugees received only $100 per person annually from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)."


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