Monday, September 20, 2010

Reuters enabling the Palestinians to cook the books?

Reuters correspondent Andrew Quinn reports that the Palestinian Authority is "cash-strapped" and the push is on to bring in an additional $500 million from Arab donors to enable the PA to balance its books and ostensibly prepare the Palestinians for statehood:
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, speaking after a meeting with Gulf Arab ministers, said the Palestinian Authority still needed about $500 million this year to fund everything from salaries to infrastructure...
[Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr] Stoere said the Palestinian Authority's efforts both to improve fiscal management and boost basic security were having a real impact on the ground -- a fact he said should persuade Israel to further reduce restrictions on Palestinian movement and trade in the Gaza Strip and elsewhere.
But based on the analysis of Elder of Ziyon, there are a few accounts on the PA's books which go unmentioned in Reuters' story:
These numbers can be adjusted somewhat lower if the salaries are going to former policemen who are being paid to do nothing. But on the surface, this is part of the security budget, and any way you slice it, hundreds of millions of dollars of the PA security budget is being spent in Gaza, ostensibly for security. This may be why Hamas maintains a legal fiction between the al-Qassam Brigades and the police - because they are being paid out of different pockets, and this way Hamas terrorists can draw a second salary, courtesy of the world's nations.  If my assumptions are correct, then the World Bank may even be complicit in this scheme. They do not break down how much of the budget is being spent in Gaza versus the West Bank, and this is a critical question that all international donors should be asking.
Well, we suppose that if the World Bank is failing to report on the diversion of foreign funding to Hamas, we can't really expect Reuters to perform that due diligence.

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