Stop Fatah from Stealing Public Funds (GateStone Institute) by Omar Khatib 04/18/12)
GateStone Institute Articles-Index-Top
Salam Fayyad´s control over the Finance Ministry has put him in a
collision course with with Fatah and Palestinian Authority President
Mahmoud Abbas, who are angry because they are no longer able to sign
fat checks and deposit large amounts in secret bank accounts around
the world. If Western donors, by failing to act, allow Abbas to take
over the Finance Ministry, the Palestinian people will again be
deprived of international aid -- then even more of them will be
driven into the arms of Hamas and other radical groups.
The president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has
renewed his efforts to gain control over the Finance Ministry
portfolio which, over the past few years, has been in the hands of
Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
In recent statements to Palestinian media outlets, Abbas talked about
his desire to carry out a "cabinet reshuffle." According to his aides
in the West Bank, the proposed reshuffle actually envisages placing
the Finance Ministry under the direct control of Abbas´s corruption-
riddled ruling Fatah faction.
Abbas and Fatah have never come to terms with their loss of direct
control over the hundreds of millions of dollars donated annually by
the Americans and Europeans to the Palestinians.
Western donors, most likely aware of this, have conditioned their
continued aid to the Palestinians on placing the Finance Ministry
under the direct and exclusive control of Fayyad. It would be better
for both the donors and for the Palestinian people if that is exactly
where it stayed, The question is: How much pressure is the West
willing to exert to be sure that the Finance Ministry stays with
The donors have explained that they would like to avoid repeating the
mistakes of the past, when Yasser Arafat and Fatah were in control of
the budget and stole hundreds of millions of dollars of Western aid
that were earmarked for Palestinians.
Fayyad´s control over the Finance Ministry has put him on a collision
course with Abbas and Fatah, who are angry because they are no longer
able to sign fat checks and deposit large amounts in secret bank
accounts around the world.
Tensions between Fatah and Fayyad reached their peak a few months ago
when top leaders of the faction called on Abbas to confiscate the
Finance Ministry portfolio from the prime minister. Some Fatah
leaders even went as far as accusing Fayyad of serving the interests
of Americans, Europeans and Israelis - an insinuation that he is
Abbas´s renewed attempt to gain control over the Palestinian
Authority´s public funds should sound the alarm bell in Washington
and European capitals. In the past, the US Administration and some
European donors have warned Abbas that they would cut off financial
aid to the Palestinians if Fatah takes the Finance Ministry from
It remains now to be seen whether the Western donors will intervene
once again to prevent Abbas and his corrupt Fatah faction from laying
their hands on the Palestinian Authority´s coffers.
If Western donors, by failing to act, allow Abbas to take over the
Finance Ministry, the Palestinians will again be deprived of
international aid -- then even more of them will be driven into the
open arms of Hamas and other radical groups.
Omar Khatib is a journalist and translator based in Gaza.
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY