Somewhere on A1A...

Monday, October 27, 2003

Where are the Millions?

More accurately the title ought to be Where are the Billions, but the idea is the same... the question is the same one I've been asking

"Where are the millions?" is the name of a popular Arab song in which Lebanese singer Julia Botrus denounces the failure of the Arab world to go to war against Israel. The song is played repeatedly on Palestinian Authority radio and TV as a cry of despair aimed at mobilizing the Arab masses on the side of the Palestinians in their fight against Israel. In recent weeks, amid reports that PA Chairman Yasser Arafat is in poor health, many Palestinians are also beginning to ask the same question, but in a different context: They are demanding to know what has happened to hundreds of millions of dollars belonging to the Palestinian people...

... Hassan Khraisheh, one of nine members of the Democratic Bloc, said he and his colleagues believe that Arafat's adviser on economic affairs, Muhammad Rashid (also known as Khaled Salam), is holding at least $200 million in a secret bank account. Rashid is now living in Cairo after he reportedly fell out with Arafat.

According to Khraisheh, only Rashid, who is chairman of the Palestine Investment Fund, and Arafat know where the money is deposited. A delegation from the fund visited Egypt lately in an attempt to find out what happened to the money.

"Rashid refused to cooperate in revealing where the money is," Khraisheh said. "He also refused to meet with the PLO ambassador in Egypt to talk about the issue."

"This is money that belongs to the Palestinian people," Khraisheh added. "It could have been invested in establishing a social welfare system instead of shady deals. The Americans and the Egyptians are protecting [Rashid], and Arafat provides him with cover. We're talking about tens of millions of dollars. How is it that one person can control such huge sums? When we asked Arafat about it, he said, 'Muhammad Rashid is my man. He is my financial adviser.' This is Arafat's method. The source of Arafat's power is money."
How can anyone possibly consider giving these criminals and murderers Sovereignty over anything?


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