Jul 31, 2008

Palestinian Authority Declares Bankruptcy

By Jan Markell

In spite of my issues with "Palestine" and the "Palestinians," it gives me no joy to report on a story coming out of the publication Israel Today and other sources. This week they and other Israeli periodicals reported that the Palestinian Authority (PA), the largest recipient of financial aid per capita in the world, is on the verge of bankruptcy.

While the Palestinian Authority receives hundreds of millions of dollars each year from the U.S. and the European Union, Palestinian officials said that Arab donor states have failed to make good on their generous financial pledges.

The officials said that without an immediate influx of funds, the Palestinian Authority, which is the largest employer in Judea and Samaria, will be unable to pay July salaries to its 150,000 public servants and police officers.

That raised fears that Hamas, which is flush with cash from Iran and other supporters, could make further inroads in the so-called "West Bank," where the government of Western-backed Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas still holds sway.

While the Palestinian Authority is generally believed to be in more capable economic hands today, for over a decade it was a money pit for donor states, with top officials stealing most of the funds for their own personal use. The worst offender was Yasser Arafat, whose wife and closest confidantes are still believed to be in possession of over $1 billion of donor funds.

Yet the misperception--even delusion--continues, that the birth of a Palestinian state will bring world peace or at least regional peace.

If the Palestinian Authority cannot manage their finances in their present situation, how can they possibly manage a nation of their own? So prone to corruption, it is the people who pay the steep price while the leaders live lavish lives and your tax dollars contribute to this. Now the PA is looking to the World Bank to bail them out in spite of a U.S.-planned drive to channel billions of dollars to Palestinian leaders.

The Arab nations and western world that are pumping millions into these coffers need a wake-up call. It's time they hold these leaders accountable rather than pouring more funds into their pockets while the Palestinian people cannot afford to care for their families. The anger of the people is then misguided and taken out on innocent Israelis in terror attacks, when the anger should be directed at PA leadership and others stirring up a hornet's nest in the region.

This is just one reason why a majority of Palestinians openly state that they prefer to live under Israeli rule than under the Palestinian Authority or even live within a Palestinian state. Even the people left in poverty realize nothing would change with their own nation and that their rulers would be emboldened to do greater works of evil while the world cheers them on.

To better understand this issue, visit my Web site and the category of "Palestine."