Monday, April 17, 2006
How broke are the Palestinians?
Not very. Certainly not as much as they'd like you to believe.
Today's big stories were the homicide bombing in Tel Aviv and two $50 million dollar pledges of aid to Hamas, one from Iran and one from US `ally in the war on terror' Qatar to the supposedly destitute Palestinians. Here's how they link up.
The Palestinian Authority is not `broke', no matter what sob stories you read in the MSM press. The reality, as always with these folks is very different from the public perception.
The total shortfall for the Palestinian budget is around $1.5 billion a year, including inflated government salaries for one in three Pal workers.You may remember that the Saudis made Hamas do an audit prior to making an aid pledge and discovered almost 38,000 non-existant people on the payroll...all drawing salaries paid for by the UN, EU and the US. That money `mysteriously' disappeared...a PLO variation on the old Mafia `no show jobs' racket.
Using this and other scams to skim off millions in stolen aid, Yasir Arafat established The Palestine Investment fund– PIF – which was set up to conceal and invest the funds Arafat diverted over the years from international donors that was supposed to go to `aid' the Palestinian people. This little treasure trove is now in the hands of Mahmoud Abbas.
It's no small amount, either. The capital is estimated at $1.2-1.4 billion and its monthly yield counted in tens of millions. And that's just the one fund we know about. Keep in mind that the Pals still receive millions in `humanitarian ' aid that frees up money the Hamas government would ordinarily have to spend on the needs of its people.
However, Abbas reportedly won't hand over a single shekel, let alone control over the hedge fund until Hamas recognizes – not Israel, but the Palestinian Liberation Organization as the paramount authority over the Palestinians. Abbas says that these ill-gotten gains belong to the PLO and he won't release funds to an organization that refuses to recognize its authority.
So it's about the Power struggle between Fatah and Hamas as well as about the cold, hard cash.
The recent pledge of $50 million from Iran, as I discussed here came with a price tag...today's bombing was the start of Hamas earning their money the way the Pals have always earned it - by killing Jews.
Khalid Meshaal, the Hamas kingpin was just in Teheran, where the Mullahs told him that if he wanted money, he'd have to earn it by ramping up the War Against the Jews. Today's bombing was the start of that.Islamic Jihad is owned by Iran, and Hamas has essentially been winking and letting them take the lead in terror attacks. So, Hamas had a choice to make. Either dance to the mullah's tune as a unified command with Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah if they want to get paid, or cut a deal and let Fatah and Abbas in on the action.
Based on today's events, it looks like Hamas made its choice.
And the people who call themselves Palestinians, as usual, end up as the dupes and cannon fodder.