Follow the Money


by Chuck Chriss
President, JIA

Anyone trying to understand the long-term success of Yasser Arafat and his thugocracy running the Palestinian Arab terror organizations, has to understand the money trail.

On the Palestine Facts website, JIA has a page titled “What is known about the PLO’s finances?” The facts show that the PLO, and the Palestinian Authority that evolved from it, have reaped the rewards of terrorism in the form of literally billions of dollars in assets plus a cash flow estimated to be 1.5 to 2 billion dollars per year. This enormous financial empire provides ample resources for Arafat’s continuing control of the Palestinian terror/security forces and hence his unshakable grip on power. The money and the absolute control it has bought for Arafat have also spawned corruption on a vast scale, as documented on the page titled What about corruption in the Palestinian Authority in the territories they control?

While the world is distracted by “massacres in Jenin” and “Israeli human rights violations”, cash continues to flow to fund the corrupt Arafat terror regime. Now, a new analysis is available, written by Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, commissioned by B’nai B’rith Europe. Titled “Where does the money go?” this October 2002 study goes into even more detail on the criminal sources of Arafat’s money (drugs, money laundering, smuggling, counterfeiting), the funds extorted from the Palestinian economy (taxes, monopolies, bribes, protection money) as well as the billions received from international agencies and donor countries including the United States.

Not surprisingly, little of this money reaches the lower levels of Palestinian society, while at the same time Arafat’s henchmen have built lavish mansions (complete with swimming pools in the desert), send their children to private schools in Europe, and have huge slush funds in untouchable private bank accounts. Much of this is documented on the public record, but the flow of funds continues unabated.

The Internet provides many sources to verify and expand this information. Here are some places to start if you want to go into this more deeply:

  1. Dr. Ehrenfeld’s paper “Where does the money go? A study of the Palestinian Authority”, sets forth the huge cash flows from legal and illegal sources that have made Yasser Arafat’s terrorist empire possible and kept him solidly in control for decades. Dr. Ehrenfeld has testified before the US Congress on these matters, for example, this House Armed Services Committee hearing.
  2. Documents captured by the IDF during Operation Defensive Shield provide evidence of the role of Arafat and Palestinian Authority in the financing of the Fatah, Tanzim and Al Aqsa Brigades terrorist infrastructures and activists. Details here and here.
  3. A Kuwaiti Daily Reports Arafat Deposited $5.1 Million from Arab Funds into His Personal Account, MEMRI Special Dispatch Series #390.
  4. “The Palestinians’ Lost Marshall Plans” by Patrick Clawson, deputy director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy is a revealing analysis of the economic conditions in the territories and the wildly disproportionate international aid received by the Palestinian Arabs. From 1968 until 1993, the years that Israel administered the territories before the PA was given control, incomes steadily rose, exceeding incomes in most Arab countries. Since the PA took over, per-capita incomes have fallen, accelerating downward since the 2000 intifada began, and now are lower than the more prosperous Arab states, although still much higher than Syria and other poor Arab countries. Although the Palestinian Arabs are still relatively prosperous, they continue to receive many times the international aid of their poorer Arab neighbors and continue to squander it without benefiting their economy or people.

Will there come a day when the international community will wake up to this travesty? The past record is not encouraging.