Thursday, August 02, 2007

Trusting Fatah

Dear Friends,
The constellation in the Middle East has changed. The threat of Islamic fundamentalism is not just being felt by the Western world. Arab states are also worried by Hezbollah, Hamas and a potentially nuclear Iran. That gives the Fatah leadership in Ramallah a unique opportunity to simultaneously imporove their relationships with Israel, the West and Arab states. An imperative with defeat of Hamas' bloody coup in Gaza still ringing in their ears. But can they be trusted?
Ironically, it is the Palestinian Hamas, worried that they will be left out in the cold, who have raised that question to the Palestinian public and to the world. 
A report by The Funding for Peace Coalition analyses the coverage of a Hamas press conference last Tuesday, where they publicly presented documents proving the corrupt nature of Arafat, his Prime-Minister (now President) Abbas and his Finance Minister (now Prime-Minister)
Consistent with their form over the last decade, the mainstream media have largely ignored this new evidence. The Funding for Peace Coalition notes that AP did file a report - but deliberately downplayed the corruption. Seems that it's still not quite politically correct to remind the world that the Palestinian elite callously pirated foreign aid to line their own pockets at the expense of their own people. Not to mention the vast sums of stolen money used to encourage and support terrorism. Nevertheless, such revelations in Arabic are rare and newsworthy. 
And the Fatah comeback is no surprise: What happened to the vast sums Hamas got from Iran and Qatar?
The real question, of course, is that with money once again flowing from the US and European taxpayer, whether the donor community will see a return on their investment in the form of proper governance, improvement of the situtaion of the average Palestinian and real peace for the region? Or, can we expect that in the tradition of the last decade, the old ways will return, Europe will turn a blind eye, the region will again erupt in violence and the international taxpayer will be bilked until the Palestinian Authority is completely covered in the slime of its own corruption?
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