How Much Is Mahmoud Abbas Worth?
Try $100 Million
Palestinian leaders in Ramallah, including President Mahmoud Abbas, are deeply concerned that Rashid's revelations could expose their role in the embezzlement of public funds. They are also concerned that Rashid's revelations could prompt some Americans and Europeans to reconsider their decision to pour millions of dollars into the Palestinian Authority's coffers. What is needed is an independent Commission of Inquiry to restore pubic funds belonging to the Palestinian people. The Palestinians have many Mohammed Rashids...
The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank has just discovered what every Palestinian child knows -- that hundreds of millions of dollars had been embezzled during the era of Yasser Arafat.
The "discovery", however, was not the result of a thorough and long investigation ordered by Palestinian leaders in Ramallah with the hope of restoring public funds.
Instead, it came after one of Arafat's most trusted aides, Mohammed Rashid, threatened to expose corruption scandals in the Palestinian Authority.
For many years, Rashid 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.
A former journalist who used to earn less than $1,000 a month by working for a PLO newspaper, Rashid is now considered one of the wealthiest Palestinians anywhere. 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. Since then, the Palestinian Authority has almost nothing to bring him to trial or return at least some of the missing funds.
This week, however, the Palestinian Authority finally woke up and remembered that Rashid was suspected of embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars.
The Palestinian Authority's Anti-Corruption Commission in Ramallah announced that it has issued an arrest warrant against the former Arafat advisor and asked Interpol for help in bringing him to trial.
The announcement came a day after Rashid appeared on a Saudi-owned TV station and threatened to expose corruption scandals in the Palestinian Authority leadership.
Palestinian leaders in Ramallah, including President Mahmoud Abbas, are deeply concerned that Rashid's revelations could seriously embarrass them and expose their role in the embezzlement of public funds.
They are also worried that Rashid's revelations could prompt some Americans and Europeans to reconsider their decision to pour millions of dollars into the Palestinian Authority's coffers.
Rashid, after all, was not a junior official in the Palestinian Authority. He was an 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.
So Abbas is saying that Rashid stole hundreds of millions of dollars, while Rashid is accusing the president of embezzling "only" $100 million. This 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.
What is needed is an independent commission of inquiry to restore the public funds belonging to the Palestinian people. The Palestinians have many Mohammed Rashids who turned into wealthy businessmen during the peace process with Israel -- thanks to the naivety of Americans and Europeans.
Comment on this item
by Richard Kemp
Would General Allen -- or any other general today -- recommend contracting out his country's defenses if it were his country at stake? Of course not.
The Iranian regime remains dedicated to undermining and ultimately destroying the State of Israel. The Islamic State also has Israel in its sights and would certainly use the West Bank as a point from which to attack, if it were open to them.
There can be no two-state solution and no sovereign Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan, however desirable those things might be. The stark military reality is that Israel cannot withdraw its forces from the West Bank.
Fatah leaders ally themselves with the terrorists of Hamas, and, like Hamas, they continue to reject the every existence of the State of Israel.
If Western leaders actually want to help, they should use all diplomatic and economic means to make it clear to the Palestinians that they will never achieve an independent and sovereign state while they remain set on the destruction of the State of Israel.
by Louis René Beres
The Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO], forerunner of today's Palestinian Authority, was founded in 1964, three years before Israel came into the unintended control of the West Bank and Gaza. What therefore was the PLO planning to "liberate"?
Why does no one expect the Palestinians to cease all deliberate and random violence against Israeli civilians before being considered for admission to statehood?
On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States endorsed a "Mandate for Palestine," confirming the right of Jews to settle anywhere they chose between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. This is the core American legacy of support for a Jewish State that President Obama now somehow fails to recall.
A sovereign state of Palestine, as identified by the Arabs -- a Muslim land occupied by "Palestinian" Arabs -- has never existed; not before 1948, and not before 1967. From the start, it was, and continues to be, the Arab states -- not Israel -- that became the core impediment to Palestinian sovereignty.
by Timon Dias
It looks as if this new law is meant to serve as a severe roadblock to parties that would like to dismantle the EU in a democratic and peaceful way from within.
A rather dull semantic trick pro-EU figures usually apply, is calling their opponents "anti-Europe."
by Alan M. Dershowitz
by Soeren Kern
Austria has emerged as a major base for radical Islam and as a central hub for European jihadists to fight in Syria.
The proposed revisions would, among other changes, regulate the training and hiring of Muslim clerics, prohibit the foreign funding of mosques, and establish an official German-language version of the Koran to prevent its "misinterpretation" by Islamic extremists.
Muslims would be prohibited from citing Islamic sharia law as legal justification for ignoring or disobeying Austrian civil laws.
Leaders of Austria's Muslim community counter that the contemplated new law amounts to "institutionalized Islamophobia."
Official statistics show that nearly 60% of the inhabitants of Vienna are immigrants or foreigners. The massive demographic and religious shift underway in Austria, traditionally a Roman Catholic country, appears irreversible.