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Friday, October 29, 2004

The Depth of Arafat's Corruption

Arafat's Swiss Bank Account
by Issam Abu Issa

Yasir Arafat and the Palestinian Authority are known internationally for the violence between Israelis and Palestinians. As ruinous as that violence has been, another cancer permeates Arafat's administration; its name is corruption. From firsthand experience, I understand just how deep it is. Here is what I know.
From Optimism to Dismay

On July 1, 1994, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) chairman, Yasir Arafat, arrived triumphant in the Gaza Strip, watched by millions on television across the world. I was already in Ramallah, having traveled there from my family's exile in Qatar in the weeks after Arafat, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and President Bill Clinton had signed the Oslo accords in September 1993. Between 1994 and 1996, I and fellow Palestinian businessmen and intellectuals spent many days brainstorming to see what contributions we could make to a Palestinian state. My family was originally from Haifa, and I hoped to witness an Israeli withdrawal of forces and the birth of a democratic Palestinian state. It was a time of optimism among Palestinians. I gathered with friends and business partners around the television in Ramallah and watched Arafat's arrival in the Gaza Strip.

In 1996, I founded the Palestine International Bank (PIB). Thousands of Palestinians in the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the diaspora supported me financially or morally. My investors and I hoped to build a thriving economy in the newly autonomous PA areas. The PIB was truly Palestinian. Headquartered in Ramallah, it used mostly Palestinian capital, although it did receive support from other Arabs. All its reserves were kept inside Palestinian areas, and our shares traded actively on the Palestinian stock exchange. From nothing, we expanded our customer base to more than 15,500. Among those licensed by the newly established Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA), we were the largest bank in the Palestinian territories.

I first met Arafat in April 1995 while trying to secure a banking license for the PIB. This meeting at his Gaza office, though brief, was cordial and encouraging. I thought things would go smoothly. But, as the PIB grew more popular, Arafat's inner circle and, specifically, Muhammad Rashid, a PA official, also known as Khalid Salam and often described as an economic advisor to Arafat and manager of a small percentage of PIB stocks, made it difficult for us to branch out and move forward.[1] The PA, which strictly controls Palestinian media, launched a negative media blitz against us in a bid to suppress our growth. The systematic effort to undermine PIB came after I refused to cede power to Muhammad Rashid.[2]

Over the course of fifteen meetings, I became better acquainted with Arafat and grew increasingly concerned with his leadership style. Arafat and top PA officials did not respect the rule of law; many were corrupt. Arafat believed neither in separation of powers nor in checks and balances. His animosity toward accountability thwarted efforts to establish a responsible leadership. By 1996, Palestinians in the PA were saying they had traded one occupation for two, the one by Israel and the one by Arafat and his cronies.

Rather than use donor funds for their intended purposes, Arafat regularly diverted money to his own accounts. It is amazing that some U.S. officials still see the Palestinian Authority as a partner even after U.S. congressional records revealed authenticated PLO papers signed by Arafat in which he instructed his staff to divert donors' money to projects benefiting himself, his family, and his associates.[3]

How did Arafat's inner circle benefit? In 1994, he instructed the Palestinian Authority official in charge of finances, Muhammad Nashashibi, to fund secretly—to the tune of $50,000 per month—a Jerusalem publicity center for Raymonda Tawil, Arafat's mother-in-law, and Ibrahim Qar'in, an associate of Arafat's family.[4] He also ordered the investment in the computer companies of ‘Ali and Mazzan Sha'ath, sons of Nabil Sha'ath, the PA's key negotiator in talks with Israel. Amin Haddad, Arafat's designated governor of the Palestine Monetary Authority, established several import-export companies acting as the front man for Arafat. The Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction financed these activities.[5] Thus, an organization meant to channel funds from donor countries like France and Germany became a mechanism by which to enrich Arafat.

Arafat's men flagrantly displayed corruption. Arriving penniless in Gaza and the West Bank from exile in Tunisia, many PLO members amassed wealth, built villas in Gaza, Ramallah, Amman, and other places, and sent their children to the best schools in the United Kingdom and the United States. Hisham Makki, former head of the Palestine Broadcasting Services, assassinated in January 2001, earned a monthly salary of $1,500 but became a millionaire within a few years. Immediately after his assassination, Arafat froze Makki's personal bank accounts, estimated at $17 million. Makki was alleged to have taken bribes and sold government-owned equipment. However, it was rumored that he had a dispute with another PA official over the sharing of profits gained on illegal business transactions. His assailants, believed to be members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a shady group affiliated with Fatah, have never been caught.[6]

Palestinians complained. The corruption of Arafat and the Palestinian Authority were blatant, but it appeared as if their status quo policies caused Israel and the United States to turn a blind eye. Diplomats downplayed flagrant corruption. In August 2001, Israel seized close to a half million documents from Palestinian offices in Jerusalem and elsewhere. Subsequent State Department reports on Palestinian governance and terrorism made little use or even mention of these documents.[7] European and U.S. policymakers assumed Arafat's critics to be against the Oslo accord. That may have been the case with members of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, but it was not the case among more liberal-minded Palestinians and investors like me.

Arafat's corruption reached its peak in 1999 via the monster of "twelve security forces that nobody could control,"[8] in addition to the disorganized Tanzim (Fatah's militia). He played these services off each other, never allowing a subordinate to gain power. Between 1995 and 2000, Arafat's thugs beat up at least eleven elected members of the 88-member Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) because they voiced views in private and in public that were opposed to Arafat's on how the PA is run. The victims included PLC Human Rights Committee head Qaddoura Fares, Azmi ash-Shoaibi, Abdul Jawad Saleh, Hatem Abdul Kader, among others. Arafat wanted to terrorize and silence his critics. Indeed, one of his favorite slogans was Dimuqratiyat al-Banadiq (Democracy of the Guns). Arafat believes true power lies in force, whether directed against Israelis or against his own people.

How popular is Arafat among Palestinians? At times of crisis, television crews show cheering Palestinians demonstrating and greeting their leader outside his Ramallah headquarters. In better days, Palestinian television regularly broadcasts pro-Arafat rallies across the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But rallies aren't always what they seem. PA funds are used to buy loyalty and drum up support.[9] The PA hires crowds, stages promotional media campaigns, and distributes Arafat's pictures in the streets and alleys of the Palestinian territories. Rather than build a viable state, Arafat sought only to amass wealth and power. I myself heard his entourage and close associates refer to him as al-Arrab, meaning "the Godfather."

At the end of 1997, when the PA Auditor's Office released its end of the year financial report, $326 million—43 percent of the annual budget—was "missing."[10] Only 57 percent of the budget was accounted for, spent on security forces (35 percent), office of the president (12.5 percent), and public allocation (9.5 percent). A special committee appointed by the PLC conducted an investigation and released a report accusing the PA of financial mismanagement. The findings of this panel exposed many official misgivings and abuses such as the use of government money for personal purposes by ministers Nabil Sha'ath, Talal Sidr, and Yasir Abd Rabboh; excessive expenditure on rent, salaries, and cost of travel in various ministries; receipt of bribes by ministry officials in the Ministry of Civil Affairs; illegal and unreported collection of taxes by the Ministry of Postal Services; granting illegal customs exemptions on cars, furniture, and material donations entering the PA, etc. It concluded that anyone involved in corruption should be taken to court, regardless of his position as minister, undersecretary, or director-general. The report demanded the ouster of at least two ministers: civil affairs minister Jamil at-Tarifi, and planning and international cooperation minister Nabil Sha'ath.[11]

The PLC voted 51-1 in favor of dissolving Arafat's appointed 18-member limited self-rule cabinet. Sixteen ministers gave letters to Arafat signaling readiness to resign if asked. But Arafat confirmed the corrupt ministers in their positions rather than firing them. Additionally, PLC member Haider Abdel Shafi resigned due to "frustration with the performance of the PLC and with the executive's total lack of concern for its recommendations," and added, "The PLC is a marginal body and not a true parliament."[12]

Even as the PLC committee was conducting its investigation, Arafat appointed Tayeb Abd al-Rahim, general secretary of the Presidential Office, to make a detailed inquiry into acts of corruption. His report remains secret.

In practice the reports were meaningless. Since Arafat does not honor rule of law, decisions by auditors or the Palestinian Legislative Council fall by the wayside. Corruption continues. More than six years after the report's issuance, Tarifi remains in the cabinet. Rather than face charges, Sha'ath has won promotion.

In another case, Salam Fayyad, the official in charge of finance, again said in August 2003 that there were many "irregularities" in the work of the Petroleum Authority, which has been siphoning money to secret bank accounts for years.[13] When Nablus legislator Mu'awyah al-Masri asked for details and figures about the revenues from oil products, Fayyad shocked the lawmakers by declaring, "Unfortunately, the documents related to the revenues from oil products—or how the money was used—can't be found. They have disappeared from the ministry."[14]

The bank accounts of Harbi Sarsour, head of the Petroleum Authority, were frozen by the PA pending investigation into the scandal. But an initial investigation by Fayyad's office and the PLC showed that much of the oil profits had been deposited into a bank account under Arafat's name.[15]

For sheer scale, few allegations match up to a deal allegedly struck between Muhammad Rashid, one of Arafat's economic advisors, and the late Yossi Ginosar, a former Israeli security officer. Ginosar's company, ARC, helped open Swiss bank accounts and deposit funds into them derived from both PA-financed companies and Israeli tax rebates to the Palestinian Authority.[16] Over a period of five years, approximately US$900 million was diverted to these accounts.[17]

In early 2002, the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research conducted a poll in which they surveyed 1,320 Palestinians. Eighty-five percent believed that there was corruption in PA institutions; only 16 percent gave a positive evaluation to democracy under the Palestinian Authority. Eighty-four percent expressed support for fundamental reforms in the PA.[18]
Arafat Robs the Palestine International Bank

On November 28, 1999, I became a victim of Arafat's abuse of power and flagrant disregard for the law. That's when, in direct breach of the law, Arafat issued a decree dissolving the Palestine International Bank's board of directors. The state-controlled Palestine Monetary Authority took over the bank, and with Arafat's blessing and written approval,[19] formed a new supervisory board of directors, including at least one convicted and Interpol-wanted felon. The unlawful takeover was a confiscation of my own, my shareholders', and my clients' private assets for Arafat's personal use. At the date of seizure, PIB total assets amounted to $105 million. Since the takeover, they have neither called for a shareholders' meeting nor disclosed the bank's balance sheet.

The PLC investigated the seizure of the bank after I lodged a complaint in 2000 about the PIB's unlawful takeover. The PMA governor then threatened the bank's auditing firm, Talal Abu Ghazaleh International (TAGI), for revealing facts and figures that implicated the Palestinian leadership. The PMA governor took punitive measures against them but was unanimously condemned by the PLC.[20] Meanwhile, the PMA altered, hid, or destroyed bank records in their campaign to demonstrate malfeasance on my part retroactively. They supplied false information to the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) group leading to a faulty audit. PWC seems to have taken for granted the accuracy of material that PMA governor Amin Haddad supplied, but he both provided some fraudulent documents and omitted others. The Qatari government, which has remained interested in the case because of my Qatari citizenship, rejected the PWC Report.[21]

As they seized the bank, Arafat's security services harassed me. I fled to the Qatari mission in Gaza. Arafat's staff confiscated my private belongings, including my car, which Arafat took for himself.[22] My brother Issa accompanied a Qatari Foreign Ministry delegation to Gaza in order to resolve the stalemate. But, upon his arrival, Palestinian police acting on orders from Arafat arrested him. The PA said they would trade his freedom for mine. Only after the State of Qatar threatened Arafat with financial sanctions and severing of diplomatic ties did the PA give us free passage to leave Gaza for Qatar.

In recent months, there has been some movement on my case. After months of investigation and deliberation, the Palestinian Legislative Council ruled all decisions taken by the PMA on the matter of PIB to be illegal, and hence subsequent actions to be illegitimate.[23] Chiefly because of his mismanagement of the PIB case and citing corruption, in May 2004, the PLC fired Amin Haddad from his position in the Palestinian Monetary Authority.[24] Hassan Khreisheh, Palestinian deputy parliament speaker, said, "This is part of the parliament's war against corruption in the PA."[25] He pointed out that Haddad had been pocketing unauthorized bonuses and profiting illegally from his management of the PIB. In spite of this, Arafat continues to back Haddad. As Khreisheh says, "Arafat resists any change, but pressure is building against him."[26] Arafat's support for Haddad is magnified in his August 5, 2004 letter to the PLC Reform Committee. He stated, "Firing the governor of the PMA would serve our enemies."[27] By "enemies," he was referring to, among others, myself and the deputy prime minister of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor ath-Thani, whom he mentioned more than three times before several PLC members.

The PLC also indicted Arafat's relative, Jarrar al-Kudwa, who headed the General Monitoring Board that functions as the PA's Controller's Office, for corruption and misleading the investigation into the seizure of the PIB.[28]

On June 18, 2004, the evening after the Jordanian daily Ad-Dustur published the Khreisheh interview cited above, Arafat ordered his Special Security Apparatus to arrest one of my sympathizers in Ramallah. Thus does Arafat continue to use the Palestinian security forces to harass and intimidate anyone who questions his pocketbook. It is no surprise then that he issued clear instructions to PA officials not to discuss openly the PIB issue. To him, the matter is an extremely important issue.[29]

I have very little faith in the Palestinian judicial system, which is fully under Arafat's thumb. The PA disregards many court decisions unless they serve Arafat's purposes. Chief Justice Zuhair as-Sourani usually acts on Arafat's orders.[30] Arafat and Sourani handpicked Judge Talaat Taweel in order to pass the civil judgment against me in absentia. Taweel has been implicated in criminal cases.[31] Likewise, the PLC's Human Rights Committee condemned Sourani's illegal actions. Earlier, while an attorney general, Sourani issued an arrest warrant against me but failed to produce any legal basis before the PLC; he merely acted on Arafat's verbal instruction.[32] Arafat subsequently promoted him to chief justice.

The continuing decay of the judicial system prompted the Union of Palestinian Lawyers to launch a short boycott of the Palestinian court system on June 28, 2004.[33] Union leader Hatem Abbas remains a vocal critical of judicial corruption. On September 26, 2004, he sent a strongly worded letter regarding Sourani's malpractice.

And just recently, the PLC decided to suspend all sessions from September 7 to October 7, 2004, in an attempt to pressure Arafat to accelerate the approval of a reform package that he publicly adopted on August 18, 2004, and in protest against the Palestinian cabinet for not implementing the decisions and bills approved by the PLC.[34] The PLC wants to stress that the council's decisions have to be taken seriously.
The Cement Scandal

Abuse of power among Arafat's associates and Palestinian ministers is not the exception but rather the rule, as shown by the cement scandal: PA officials were accused of selling cement to Israel for use in constructing the West Bank wall and for Israeli construction in the disputed territories, then pocketing the money.

On February 11, 2004, Israel's Channel 10 television reported that the Al-Quds Cement Factory supplied the cement for these purposes. Television footage showed cement mixers leaving company headquarters and driving to Maale Adumim, an Israeli settlement a few kilometers away. The family of Prime Minister Ahmad Qureia co-owns the Al-Quds company. When confronted by the allegations at a June 2004 press conference in Rome, Qureia denied personal involvement.[35]

On June 9, 2004, the PLC held a debate in which some legislators accused Maher Masri, who held the Palestinian Authority's economy portfolio, of negligence and fraud. Council members called for an investigation on "corruption and tax evasion" charges.[36] Despite the charges, the debate itself was stilted. Palestinian security ejected PLC deputy and anti-corruption campaigner Jawad Saleh from the debate after the PLC speaker prevented nine deputies who had conducted the investigation from participating in the debate.[37]

The scandal reportedly started with an Israeli-German businessman named Zeev Blenski. Blenski sought to import 120,000 tons of Egyptian concrete but, the Egyptian firms, under pressure from Egypt's anti-Israel lobby, refused to provide it. Blenski then turned to the Tarifi Ready Mix Cement Company, owned by Civil Affairs Minister Jamil Tarifi and his brother Jamal and two other Palestinian cement companies, Intisar Barakeh Company for General Trade and the Yusef Barakeh Company for General Trade.[38]

Tarifi got Masri to sign an import permit. In fact, "senior PA officials had received bribes to issue import licenses to several importers and businessmen working on behalf of Israelis."[39] The permits directed the cement to be used to rebuild homes in the Rafah refugee camp, which had been razed by Israeli troops.[40] Instead, Blenski sold the cement to build parts of the separation fence, as well as new houses in Jewish communities in the West Bank and Gaza.[41]

The PLC report concluded that the cement scandal went against PA objectives by indirectly contributing to the separation barrier but also by undermining the Palestinian treasury through the failure to collect tax on the imported cement. Lastly, because the Palestinians still operate under annual cement importation quotas, PA officials' greed undercut the Palestinian construction sector.[42] The PLC passed the report to the district attorney, but no action has yet been taken. Few Palestinians expect that action will be taken.
Surprise in New York

Pressure for reform is waning, and Palestinian democrats are caught in the middle. On February 13, 2004, I arrived at JFK International Airport in New York on my way to testify about PA corruption before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee. It was not my first trip to Washington; I have been there a half dozen times and have never faced any difficulties. My most recent visit had been a year before when I addressed both the Hudson Institute and The Foundation for the Defense of Democracy on democracy and Palestinian reform.[43]

But, this trip was different. Instead of breezing through customs as I had in the past, agents from the Department of Homeland Security's Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement kept me in custody for seventeen hours. At some point, I was cuffed at the wrists and ankles and repeatedly interrogated by agents who accused me of laundering $6 million from the PIB on behalf of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. They let me go, but I now cannot gain entry to the United States. While dozens of academics signed petitions in support of a visa for Tariq Ramadan, the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, my case generated only silence in American universities.[44]

Why the change? PA officials passed the charge to the State Department, which forwarded the information uncritically to Homeland Security.[45] This is ironic since the PIB leadership installed after my ouster was implicated in money laundering for Saddam Hussein.[46] The U.S. embassy in Doha has sought to rectify the matter, and I was allowed to reapply for a new visa; the case is still pending. But splashed across the Arabic press, the message was clear: Foggy Bottom supports Arafat and will turn a blind eye toward the concerns of dissidents.[47] It is counterproductive for Washington to indulge Arafat to the extent that they pull the rug out from anyone trying to make a change. Recent chaos in Gaza reinforces that Washington should not put all its eggs in one basket. But, how can Palestinian administration improve if the U.S. government allows Arafat to use its bureaucracy to do his dirty work? Accountability is key.
Conclusion

For four years, there has been violence and unmasked hostility between Israeli and Palestinians. Palestinian security forces and Israeli soldiers, who once jointly patrolled the streets of West Bank and Gaza towns, now fight each other. The conflict has taken a heavy toll on human life and on resources, both among Palestinians and Israelis. Israeli authorities and Palestinian organizations estimate the total dead at almost 4,000 and the wounded at more than 32,000.[48] The ailing Palestinian economy has declined 25 percent in 2003[49] while Israel has lost billions of dollars due to recession in the tourism sector and declining investor confidence. When I see cars blown apart by missiles, buses and cafes on the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv destroyed, as well as destruction and death in Gaza and the West Bank, or pictures of grieving mothers and daughters, it is hard to believe that it has been only eleven years since the world celebrated the promise of the Oslo accords. I have problems with Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but Arafat's leadership for too long has used Israel as an excuse for failure to clean our own house.

Arafat's failed leadership is one factor responsible for the evolution of Palestinian extremism and fundamentalism, as well as a culture of death and despair among the Palestinians. While Clinton feted Arafat at the White House as a peace partner, many of us who worked with or lived under Arafat disagreed, seeing him instead as a man exclusively concerned with power, money, and personal gratification. He heads a dictatorial regime staffed by gangsters.[50] I and increasing numbers of Palestinians also blame U.S. and Israeli officials who, in the wake of the Oslo accords, calculated that a Palestinian dictatorship would make a better negotiating partner than a Palestinian democracy.[51] They were very wrong. When growing pressure in the Palestinian territories forced Arafat to find a scapegoat for his political failure, mismanagement, and economic plunder, he turned his guns toward the Israelis.

Reform and Arafat are like oil and water. Arafat instigates violence to deflect blame for his own corruption. No amount of dialogue or diplomatic dinners will change this fact.

On the positive side, there are still persons who can move the peace-building process ahead. Many Palestinians seek change and welcome democratization and good governance. The Palestinians have the wealth, talent, and skills to carry out major functions for the needed transformation. Young economic leaders could spearhead the process since economic growth and development are fruits of peace. The Palestinian private sector and civil society organizations can be mobilized and empowered in order to foster the democratization process.

With the right support, the Palestinians are capable of leading a real transformation towards a democratic state, one characterized by a separation of powers, the rule of law, a free market economy, and a strong civil society.

America should not be discouraged by what is going on in the Middle East today. Signs of freedom and reform abound. But, Washington must look forward and not revert to the formulas of the past. Palestinians want not only to be freed from Israeli control but also, as importantly, to end the occupation by Arafat and his cronies.

Issam Abu Issa, former chairman of the Palestine International Bank, currently resides in Qatar. He is founder of the Palestinian National Coalition for Democracy and Independence, a Palestinian democratic reform movement.

[1] Interview with Palestinian deputy speaker, Ad-Dustur (Amman), June 17, 2004.
[2] Lamis Andoni, "Palestine Banking Trouble," Middle East International, Jan. 28, 2000, p. 10.
[3] "Scandalous PLO Letters Authenticated by Congressional Task Force," Manfred and Anne Lehmann Foundation (New York), at http://www.manfredlehmann.com/sieg429.html.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Khaled Abu Toameh, "Corrupt Palestinian Officials Said Fleeing in Fear for Their Lives," The Israel Report, Jan./Feb. 2001, at http://www.christianactionforisrael.org/isreport.
[7] Matthew Levitt, "PLOCCA 2002: Empty Words," The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Peacewatch #384, May 24, 2002, at http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/watch/Peacewatch/peacewatch2002/384.htm.
[8] Mahmoud Abbas, ex-Palestinian prime minister, quoted in Newsweek, June 21, 2004.
[9] Nathan Vardi, "Auditing Arafat," Forbes.com, Mar. 17, 2003, at http://www.forbes.com/global/2003/0317/014.html.
[10] The Washington Post, Dec. 2, 1998.
[11] PLC Special Committee Report (The Corruption Report,) May 1997, at http://www.jmcc.org/politics/pna/plc/plccorup.htm; Stacey Lakind and Yigal Carmon, "The PA Economy," The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Inquiry and Analysis Series, no. 11, Jan. 8, 1999, at http://www.memri.org/bin/opener.cgi?Page=archives&ID=IA1199.
[12] Arjan El Fassed, "Cement and Corruption," The Electronic Intifada, June 11, 2004, at http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article2813.shtml.
[13] Khaled Abu Aker, "Where Has All the Oil Money Gone?" Arabic Media Internet Network, Aug. 11, 2003, at http://www.amin.org.
[14] The Jerusalem Post, Dec. 3, 2003.
[15] Ibid.
[16] Ma'ariv (Tel Aviv), Dec. 2, 2002, Mar. 7, 2004.
[17] Press briefing, International Monetary Fund, Dubai, UAE, Sept. 20, 2003, at http://www.imf.org/external/np/tr/2003/tr030920.htm.
[18] The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, Public Opinion Poll #5, Aug. 18-21, 2002, at http://www.pcpsr.org/survey/polls/2002/p5a.html.
[19] Appointment letter signed by Arafat, May 24, 2003, Palestinian Court of First Instance.
[20] PLC decision, no. 626/1/8, Oct. 25, 2003.
[21] Letter, signed by Muhammad Jeham al-Kuwari, then-director of the Office of the Foreign Minister of Qatar, to the late Yassin Shareef, Palestinian ambassador to the state, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Qatar, Aug. 30, 2000, at http://www.palestine77.net/kuwari.pdf.
[22] Focus Magazine (Munich), Dec. 16, 2002, p. 208.
[23] PLC decision, no. 642/1/8, Dec. 30, 2003.
[24] Associated Press, May 5, 2004.
[25] Ibid.
[26] Newsweek International, Aug. 30, 2004.
[27] "Report of the Special Reform Committee," PLC, Aug. 25, 2004, p. 6.
[28] The Jerusalem Post, Jan. 18, 2004.
[29] Tahseen Al Miqati, Palestinian ambassador to Qatar, quoted in Forbes (Arabic edition), May 2004, p. 88.
[30] "Position Paper —Re: The Case of Palestine International Bank," Jan. 23, 2004, co-signed by four Palestine-based NGOs: the Mandela Institute for Human Rights, Al-Haq, Al-Quds Human Rights Center, Al-Dustour, at http://www.palestine77.net/ngoenglish.doc.
[31] Ad-Dustur, June 17, 2004.
[32] "Report of the Human Rights Committee," PLC, Dec. 2, 2003, p. 34.
[33] Al-Quds (Jerusalem), June 27, 2004.
[34] Palestine Media Center, Sept. 2, 2004, at http://www.palestine-pmc.com/details.asp?cat=1&id=1422.
[35] Arjan El Fassed, "Cement and Corruption," The Electronic Intifada, June 11, 2004, at http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article2813.shtml.
[36] Rouhi Fatouh, PLC speaker, quoted in The Jerusalem Times, June 18, 2004.
[37] The Jerusalem Post, June 21, 2004.
[38] The Jewish Tribune (Toronto), June 17, 2004.
[39] The Jerusalem Post, June 10, 2004.
[40] The Jewish Week (New York), June 25, 2004.
[41] Israel National News, June 13, 2004, at http://www.israelnn.com/news.php3?id=63989.
[42] The Jerusalem Times, June 17, 2004.
[43] Feb. 6, 2003.
[44] "Tariq Ramadan: American and European Scholars Respond," Campus-Watch.org, Sept. 23, 2004.
[45] Amber Pawlik, "Exporting Freedom," May 9, 2004, at http://www.mensnewsdaily.com/archive/p/pawlik/2004/pawlik050904.htm.
[46] The Peninsula (Doha), Apr. 13, 2003.
[47] "A Critic of Arafat Is Turned away at the U.S. Border—Reformer Detained at Kennedy Was Headed to Meet Congress," The New York Sun, Feb. 17, 2004; "Standing up to Arafat," The Fox News, Feb. 23, 2004; Adam Daifallah, "Arabs Who Believe in Democracy," The New York Sun, Feb. 23, 2004; "New York Authorities Detain PIB Chairman for 17 Hours at JFK Airport," Ar-Raya (Doha), Feb. 19, 2004; "Story of the Detention of PIB Chairman at the JFK Airport on Allegations of Financing Hamas and Jihad," Al-Hayat (London), Feb. 16, 2004.
[48] Casualty updates from Palestinian Red Crescent Society, at http://www.palestinercs.org/crisistables/table_of_figures.htm, and Magen David Adom of Israel, at http://www.magendavidadom.org/casualtyitem.asp?Update=41.
[49] Palestine Investment Promotion Agency, at http://www.pipa.gov.ps/economic_indicators.asp.
[50] Rafiq an-Natsheh, former PLC speaker, quoted in Asharq (Doha), July 20, 2004.
[51] Natan Sharansky, "From Helsinki to Oslo," Journal of International Security Affairs, Summer 2001, at http://www.jinsa.org/articles/articles.html/function/view/categoryid/1383/documentid/1690/history/3,2359,947,1383,1690; "Yasser Arafat: An Asset or a Burden. A Confidential Israeli Document," summarized by Mohammed Salah al-Attar, Nida Younis, trans., Ma'ariv, July 6, 2001, at http://www.aljazeerah.info/News%20archives/2004%20News%20archives/Jan/13n/Yasser%20Arafat%20an%20asset%20or%20a%20burden,%20a%20confidential%20Israeli%20document%20By%20Mohammed%20Salah%20Al-Attar%20and%20Nida%20Younis.htm.