Israel has complained to the USA that capitals are leaking from PA. Israelis say, the PA leaders have transferred tens millions of dollars to their private accounts in Europe. Israel explains the capital outflow rather simply: the Palestinian authorities want to get secured against unforeseen circumstances or even possible collapse of the authority.
It is not clear how far reforms declared by the Palestinian leader will reach; moreover, it is still uncertain, who is to be preferred by Palestinians at the elections. According to information from Israelis, Arafat himself is an active participant of the capital race.
Israel has developed a special report for its “big brother”, however, information about Palestinian top officials transferring millions of dollars abroad is also published by Arab newspapers printed in Jordan and Paris. The same was mentioned by Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.
Australian Sydney Morning Herald informed with reference to the mentioned editions that Yasser Arafat had recently transferred over $5 million received as Saudi aid to his private bank account in Paris. His wife and daughter are living in Paris now. According to Arab and Israeli newspapers, Arafat’s deputy, Mahmud Abbas has transferred $70 million to European banks with his brother’s help. The brother is a rich businessman with concerns in Persian Gulf countries. It is frequently reported that the Palestinian leader pays excessively to his press-secretary Marwan Kanafani whose alleged monthly wages reaches $40,000.
By relating such information, Israel purposes several objects. First of all, it wished to undermine Yasser Arafat’s reputation in the world community’s opinion; it is known that the world community appropriates great sums of money for the PA needs. Besides, the Israelis wants to stir up resentment of Palestinians who are already tired of living under the hardest economic conditions. Israel can also use the action as an excuse: it withholds over $500 million collected as taxes from PA, Sydney Morning Herald reports. Ariel Sharon warned Washington that Israel would not give the money back until Palestinian security forces connected with terrorists are disbanded.
The world, which attention is focused on the opposition between Israel and Palestinians, knows little of a secret financial war waged by the two sides. Until recently, details of the war have not been published by both sides probably because they considered it unfavorable for each party.
Sergey Borisov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/07/17/44258.html