The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict Is 100% Phony
I have just done some very "sophisticated" research -- I Googled "Arafat's wealth." It was a real eye-opener. There are many reports out there. The best by far is the report of Issam Abu Issa, an Arab Qatari banker whose bank was stolen from him by Arafat. His personal property and his car were also stolen. He managed to escape to Qatar.
Arafat's wealth has been estimated at from $300 million to many billions. Where did it come from? Wealthy Western and Arab nations gave the money for development of the Palestinian nation.
Instead, the Palestinian people remained poor and Arafat squirelled the money in foreign accounts. He doled out substantial payments to his cronies who built grand sea-side villas and drove big Mercedes cars.
That's what it's all about. A classic story of a greedy tyrant stealing money from his people and blaming a scapegoat (Israel) for the misery suffered by his people.
The corruption was massive. It included Palestinian concrete companies providing mixed cement for the Israelis to build the wall that Jimmy Carter criticizes.
The United States of course knew about all this. Our government preferred to deal with a corrupt dictator rather than take a chance on helping to establish a democracy in the Palestinian territories.
It does not take too much imagination to conclude that Arafat's successors, Abbas and Hamas are simply trying to continue milking the Palestinian cash cow. They can never make peace with Israel because that would cause them to lose the scapegoat that distracts their people's attention from the tyrannical exploitation that has been forced on them.
Support for this conclusion is provided by the unexpected failure of the negotiations supervised by Bill Clinton in the waning days of his administration. The Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Arafat more than 90% of what Arafat was asking for. After delays, Arafat refused the offer and did not even make a counter-offer. He did not explain why he refused. He could not admit that if he made peace, he would lose the scapegoat for the Palestinians' sorry plight and the truth would come out: the Palestinians were poor not because of the Israelis but because Arafat was stealing their money.
With Abbas and Hamas it's more of the same.
Give Bush credit: he refused to deal with Arafat and he refuses to deal with Hamas.