US News - the mouthpiece of Mortimer Zuckerman when it comes to matters Middle Eastern - has plenty of political corruption of its own to worry about. Zuckerman is in fact the top guy these days heading up the Israeli-Jewish lobby...when he isn't making out there huckstering for still more money and propagandizing that is.
Excerpts from the article:
"Since the 1993 Oslo peace accord… Yasser Arafat has run a system built on
corruption and repression. His aides reap money from many sources in all
corners of the dirt-poor territories - brazenly showing off their newfound
wealth with grand new homes and fancy cars. Arafat's security forces - a
polite name for armed militias - provide the muscle. "You cannot survive
without giving these guys a lot of money at the end of each month," says
Amjad al-Masri, whose family owns a large auto garage in Nablus. "That's
the name of the game."
"…[M]onths of violence and privation are stirring a growing anger toward
the Palestinian Authority. A poll in mid-May found 91 percent of
Palestinians calling for "fundamental reform." Palestinians say they are
fed up with suffering for the sake of freedom from Israeli military rule,
only to suffer repression and extortion under Palestinian police… The owner
of a West Bank chain of food stores says he has been paying "taxes"
regularly to a PA security force, whose men threatened to jail his children
and denounce him as an Israeli collaborator - effectively a death sentence
if he didn't pay up. "When I went to complain to more senior officials in
the PA," the businessman says, "they also asked for money."
"Even charity is not beyond the reach of corrupt officials. When the
mother of a 5-year-old deaf boy, Ayham Abdel Aziz, petitioned Arafat
personally for $20,000 for the boy's emergency surgery, Arafat gave her a
signed voucher and sent her to the PA's Finance Ministry in Ramallah. At
the ministry, officials told her to sign for the $20,000 - then handed her
$5,000, taking as "commission" the other $15,000. "The most senior PA
officials are stealing the money that belongs to the people. Wherever you
go you are asked to pay a commission or a bribe," says Umaimah Abu Shusheh,
chairwoman of the Palestinian Union for the Handicapped. "Ayham's case is
only one of thousands."
"…Rare is the Palestinian prepared to challenge Arafat. Sattar Kassem …
was shot in the legs and hand on his way home in 1995 after he told a Hamas
newspaper that Arafat's rule amounted to "tyranny which grasps our people
by the throat."… Asked if he had thought to seek justice, he scoffs: "Of
course I didn't. There's no rule of law here."
"There's also no free press, making it hard for Palestinians to air
grievances… Perhaps the most Orwellian expression in the Palestinian
Authority is the term "justice system." … A former Nablus judge calls the
court system "a big joke," saying many judges are "subject to intimidation
and threats from PA security commanders and senior officials in Arafat's