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Thursday, November 04, 2004
  Heh, All that money and no bombs to spend it on
World Tribune.com--Front Page
Abbas and Qurei sought to acquire Arafat's power to allocate money during the absence of the PA chairman. But as he boarded a Jordanian Air Force helicopter for Amman, Arafat refused.

"I'm still alive, thank God, so don't worry," Arafat was quoted as saying.

Israeli officials confirmed that Arafat died on Thursday. They said Arafat was termed brain dead and physicians have stopped attending to him.

For Palestinians, the main question is where is Arafat's money?

Issam Abu Issa knows how Arafat appropriated and concealed money. Abu Issa was the founder and chairman of the Palestine International Bank from 1996 until he fled to Qatar in 2000.

"Rather than use donor funds for their intended purposes, Arafat regularly diverted money to his own accounts," Abu Issa said in a report for Middle East Quarterly. "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."

Arafat controls billions of dollars meant for the Palestinian people. In a word, he stole it, intelligence sources said, according to a report in the current edition of Geostrategy-Direct.com.

His personal fortune has been estimated at between $2 and $3 billion, most of it in Swiss bank accounts.

In 1997, the PA auditor's office said in its financial report that $326 million, or 43 percent of the annual budget, was "missing."

The United States has been supporting former PA security chief Mohammed Dahlan as Arafat's successor. To his friends in the Bush administration, Dahlan, 43, has all the qualities for Arab leadership: a smooth talker and brutal cop. Arafat asked Dahlan to accompany him to Paris in a move designed to keep him out of the Gaza Strip and any coup plot.
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