Thursday, March 22, 2007

3 Card Monte - the Palestinian aid scam continues

The new Palestinian Unity Government continues to work towards establishing business as usual with gullible Western aid donors.

To hear them and their apologists talk, Israel and the West are to blame for the sin of refusing to fund an overtly (if democratically elected) terrorist government.

Since the new unity government took office, that argument has resonated quite effectively. France, Russia, China and Norway have stated quite openly that as far as they're concerned, it's back to business as usual...and that the US and the rest of the EU should `resume aid' to succor the Palestinians as a humanitarian gesture.

Sounds good...except that it's based on total falsehood.

First of all, aid to the Palestinians has actually increased since the so-called embargo took effect, believe it or not.

The International Monetary Fund and the United Nations say Palestinians received about $1.2 billion in aid and budgetary support in 2006 compared with $1 billion in 2005,because even though the United States and European Union, which consider Hamas a terror organization, cut off direct aid, they still increased their overall contributions in 2006.

The US, for example, increased its aid to the Palestinians to $468 million last year, up from $400 million in 2005.

This does not include millions of dollars given to the Palestinians by the other Arab and Muslim nations or tax monies released by the Olmert government in Israel.

It also doesn't include the income from little known slush funds the Palestinians have access to.

For example, 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 and Fatah.

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.

In spite of this, `respected' Palestinian Finance Minister Salam Fayyad is on record as admitting that he has no idea what happened to all of the millions of dollars of aid the Palestinians have received, that there's no way he can confirm whether any aid is being used for the purposes it was earmarked for, spending is out of control, salaries are being paid to workers who never turn up, and nobody can track where the money is going.

I can't really blame Fayad too he found out when he was doing the same job for Yasir Arafat, too much oversight can end up being hazardous for your career...not to mention your health.

Of course, that lack of accountability hasn't stopped the Bush Administration. When Congress put a hold on the $68 million Dubbya wanted to give to his favorite terrorist Mahmoud Abbas, the Bush Administration `revised' the proposed aid to the Palestinians , cutting it to a mere $50 million.

Condi Rice provided some unintended humor testifying in front of the House subcommittee that controls foreign aid when she said "I have reformulated the plan. It will request less money, precisely because some of the money I would have requested I could not fully account for."

No kidding.

She claims that the new aid plan will focus on `nonlethal' aid and have a `firewall' to keep money away from Hamas.

Since Hamas is the senior partner in the new Palestinian government and has gotten its mitts on a substantial amount of the US aid given to Abbas already, you have to wonder whom she's trying to kid.

Hopefully, not Congress. There's absolutely no reason for us to fund an anti-American terrorist entity, no matter how much it would please Dubbyah's pals in Saudi Arabia.

Not one damn dime.

a hat tip to blogpal Canker for the inspiration...

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