The Palestinian Authority Donor Machine
When it comes to humanitarian aid to the Palestinian Authority, transparency does not exist.
The result is a rich Palestinian elite, which builds exclusive neighborhoods around Ramallah, leaving thousands of shoddily constructed apartments without services for the rest of Palestinian society.
Yasser Arafat set the tone for the PA when he arrived in Gaza in 1994. Arafat took control of every contract and investment, using donor money to build a secret $1 billion portfolio, including investments in Coca Cola, a Tunisian cellular phone company and venture capital funds in the US and Cayman Islands. Arafat stole $1 b. in tax revenue relayed by Israel for Palestinian workers. The money went to Arafat’s personal account in Israel’s Bank Leumi in Tel Aviv.
Some $100,000 a month went to Arafat’s wife, Suha, living in Paris. Arafat was estimated by US investigators to be worth between $1 b. and $3 b.
Within three years of the PA’s establishment, Palestinian auditors found that 40% of the PA budget, $326 million, was misappropriated, a figure that rose to $700 m. a decade later.
Not one Western government objected. This set the tone for theft at all levels in the PA. PA officials paid themselves high salaries and skimmed from others.