Palestinian whistleblower expects to be assassinated

Sunday, January 31, 2010 |  Israel Today Staff

A senior Palestinian official who in recent days has confirmed the large-scale corruption in the Palestinian Authority that most long suspected said he doesn't expect to be alive much longer.

Last week, Fahmi Shabaneh, until recently the head of the anti-corruption unit in the Palestinian Authority's General Intelligence Service, spoke openly to the Jerusalem Post about ongoing financial and administrative corruption and sexual scandals in the PA.

In short, Shabaneh revealed that most of the senior Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) officials who came from Tunis when the Palestinian Authority was established in 1993 have for years siphoned off taxes and foreign aid and today have millions of dollars stashed away and own extravagant palaces at home and abroad.

In his previous position, Shabaneh was in charge of uncovering corruption and scandals. But when he realized that all the money he returned to the PA's coffers was only being stolen by someone different, he decided to blow the whistle.

"When the Palestinian Authority came [after the signing of the Oslo Accords] I left my work as a lawyer and went to work with them. I wanted to help build a state of law and order, one where there is no room for corruption," he told the Post.

In his interview, Shabaneh warned that the rampant corruption is setting the stage for a Hamas takeover in Judea and Samaria, just as the group seized control of Gaza. Hamas already holds a majority in the Palestinian parliament, having sailed to electoral victory in 2006 on the strength of general disillusionment with the PA.

Shabaneh said he has little doubt that someone from the PA will assassinate him soon, and has already purchased a grave and tombstone and instructed his wife and five children what to do after he is gone.

But before that happens, Shabaneh has promised to reveal additional details of financial and administrative corruption that will touch even Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who is portrayed in the West as a clean-cut "moderate."

The out-of-control corruption in the PA has long been highlighted by Israelis who insist the Palestinians at present couldn't possibly run a sovereign, independent state. In reality, a Palestinian state today would be wholly dependent on Israel and on foreign aid, much of which would continue to line the pockets of its corrupt leaders.

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