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April 2000 - Return to Complete Index    MiddleEast.Org         4/16/00
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Palestinian Realities - This Tuesday in Ramallah:



If it were not for Hasib Sabbagh and his large bundles of money at crucial times
the Palestinians might not now be burdened with the Arafat regime and a "peace
process" that has robbed them of more rights, more property, and even their dreams.
A few VIP Palestinians, Sabbagh and his family among them, have benefited from
events of recent years.  But the great majority of Palestinians are much worse
off than they were before, now facing a kind of double occupation as they are
converted from a once proud people to a status that can be likened to that of
the American Indian on reservations.

Indeed, if there is one super wealthy Palestinian personality who has squandered
the most multi-millions and supported the largest number of wrong people and wrong
groups for the longest period of time, it is surely Hasib Sabbagh.

Sabbagh made his money in the Gulf many decades ago working with the corrupt
regimes there.  He did things for them.  They did things for him.   He took in large
amounts of money for his efforts, always being exceedingly careful to bend and sway
in accord with whatever the political winds of the moment, always making sure to
pay off and reward with favors those with the biggest entourage of power and money.

Sabbagh is an old and sick man now.  His days doing behind-the-scenes favors
for the corrupt regimes of the Arab world are behind him.  It wasn't that long
ago actually that this "proud Palestinians" was living in a big mansion on
Washington's Embassy Row handing out documents embossed with the crown of the
Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and working closely with King Hussein and other
captive Palestinians to put even more Palestinians under the control of the
British-installed dynasty.  There are many things Hasib Sabbagh would probably
like to forget, and certainly doesn't want known.

But Sabbagh has actually spent his last few years buying himself praise and being
willingly used and unknowingly abused by a large contingent of mercenaries coming
to him for handouts and obeying the rules that come with such.  His record of
supporting all the wrong things and wrong people, Yasser Arafat at the top of the
list, is legend to insiders.

A couple of years ago Hasib bought himself a banquet in Washington sponsored
by the Middle East Institute -- that conservative bastion of former oil company
and State Department hacks.   He gave them alot of money.   In return they
published a gushingly laudatory book about him and gave him a bunch of awards.
At the end of the lavish banquet evening there were tables full of the book
about what a great guy Hasib is -- not for sale, mind you, but rather given
away to anyone willing to take one or more.

Now on Tuesday Sabbagh, through his family and the Palestinian elite he has
bankrolled, has arranged to have himself honored by these Palestinian in Ramallah,
the biggest of the bantustans established by the "peace process" he and his
cronies have so tragically encouraged.  He's probably got many more copies of
that self-subsidized book from the Middle East Institute to hand out. Plus of
course everyone is lining up hoping to get a little more money when Hasib
soon passes on, and to court his family that will inherit his many bank accounts.

In the end, this is really not a story about one lone money magnet.  Rather it is
a story about a small clique of Palestinian "aristocrats" who have made so many
mistakes over such a long period of time while squandering so much money.  And
this in turn is a story that helps explain why half the Palestinian people even
today remain in refugee camps and most of the rest now face the declaration of
a rump "State", one controlled by Zionist Israel on one side and Hashemite
Jordan on the other, and one which in many ways is considerably worse than
the situation Palestinians faced back before the Intifada began.

Below  is the announcement from the new Jerusalem-based organization headed by
one of the most prominent of that small Palestinian VIP crowd, Hanan Ashrawi, that
has gotten the Palestinian people into this terrible mess but which is now busy
criticizing the always foreseeable results of their mistakes.  Guess what...Sabbagh
and friends have put up most of the money and "His Excellency" Yasser himself
might be coming.

                    " MIFTAH Honors Mr. Hasib Sabbagh

 Under the patronage of His Excellency President Yasser Arafat, The
 Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy
  (MIFTAH) takes great pleasure in honoring one of the most sincere and
  passionate Palestinians, Mr. Hasib Sabbagh.

  Mr. Sabbagh's moral and financial contributions to the Palestinian cause are
  priceless. He has been involved with several initiatives aimed at the
  promotion of Palestinian issues and concerns.

  The ceremony will take place on Tuesday, April 18th, 2000, at the Grand Park
  Hotel in Ramallah, where prominent Palestinian officials and civil society
  advocates will be present. "

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