David Samuels has a lengthy article in the September 2005 issue of The Atlantic Monthly -- “In a Ruined Country -- How Yasir Arafat destroyed Palestine” -- that is stunning in its detailed examination of the utter corruption of Arafat and those who surrounded him (hat tip: Ed Lasky).
Here is just one brief excerpt from Samuels' extraordinary article:
The amounts of money stolen from the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people through the corrupt practices of Arafat's inner circle are so staggeringly large that they may exceed one half of the total of $7 billion in foreign aid contributed to the Palestinian Authority. The biggest thief was Arafat himself.
The International Monetary Fund has conservatively estimated that from 1995 to 2000 Arafat diverted $900 million from Palestinian Authority coffers, an amount that did not include the money that he and his family siphoned off through such secondary means as no-bid contracts, kickbacks, and rake-offs.
A secret report prepared by an official Palestinian Authority committee headed by Arafat's cousin concluded that in 1996 alone, $326 million, or 43 percent of the state budget, had been embezzled, and that another $94 million, or 12.5 percent of the budget, went to the president's office, where it was spent at Arafat's personal discretion. An additional 35 percent of the budget went to pay for the security services, leaving a total of $73 million, or 9.5 percent of the budget, to be spent on the needs of the population of the West Bank and
You have to read that again to fully appreciate what happened: 43% embezzled, 12.5% to Arafat personally, and 35% to the “security services.” Left over for other needs: 9.5%
Samuels notes that the period of economic growth for the Palestinians occurred after the Six Day War and before
The economy of the Palestinian territories, which had enjoyed startlingly high growth rates after 1967, when it passed from Jordanian and Egyptian control into the hands of the Israelis, stagnated and then went backward.
* * *
What followed Arafat's return to
Palestinewas a decade-long thieves' banquet at which Fatah's old guard divided up the spoils of and treated ordinary Palestinians as conquered subjects. Oslo