Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

4 Nissan 5761 - March 28, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
Observations: What Israel and Arab Countries Have in Common

by P. Milgrom

The economic pressure Israel is applying to the Palestinian Authority has European countries worried. Dispatches calling on Israel to transfer the funds it owes the PA are becoming more and more urgent. But while the Europeans wait for Israel to begin channeling funds to save the PA from total collapse, it seems that Israel is not alone in delaying the transfer of funds to the PA. Arab countries are also refusing to transfer donor funds they have pledged to provide, but unlike Israel, which is refusing to transfer the funds due to the Palestinian Authority's involvement in the Intifadah, Arab countries are refusing to transfer the money due to concerns that it will go into the hands of private individuals.

The Arab donor countries and the banks handling the transfers have demanded that PA Chairman Yasser Arafat completely disclose the handling of the transfers and are requesting detailed accounts reporting how the money is spent.

This demand is based on past experience. Extensive funds transferred by donor countries--particularly European countries, the U.S. and Japan--after the PA was set up were spent on projects designated for them. Through broker fees, monopolies and many other techniques, a considerable portion of the money was funneled into private accounts belonging to high-ranking PA officials, including Arafat himself, and his economic advisor Muhammed Rashid.

Since the PA has been finding ways to evade the demands of Arab donor nations, the money has been delayed, most of it being held in the Islamic Bank in the Persian Gulf. Israel is doubtful that the PA will consent to the demand, since it would like to retain control over the way the funds are spent.

For now, the Islamic movements in the Territories are gaining the most out of the situation. They have been receiving millions of dollars in contributions from the Gulf over the last few months. A significant amount of this money goes to Da'ava, Hamas' civil service corps.

And now for a riddle: top officials from the Israeli Left are demanding that the money be transferred to the Palestinians as soon as possible. What money are they referring to? The money Israel has held up due to the PA's involvement in various killings, or the money that the Arabs have held up due to disclosures of corruption within the Palestinian Authority?

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