Stabbing by terrorist in Israel considered secondary to news of 25 arrested over missing millions in Paid Assassins authority
February 12, 2006
MIM: It is worth noting how the stabbing of five Israelis in a bus by a terrorist is a footnote to the corruption story. The Israeli government's decision ot hand over money to the PA is another sign of the government's 'rewarding' terror by not reacting to attacks like murder of the woman in the bus and conducting business as usual with Israel's enemies.
25 arrested over Palestine's 'missing' £400mBEN LYNFIELD IN JERUSALEM
AT LEAST £400 million in public funds was squandered or stolen by former Palestinian Authority officials, it emerged yesterday, delivering a fresh boost to the radical Hamas group, which in part owed its election victory to claims of widespread corruption in the rival Fatah movement.
Ahmed al-Moghani, the Palestinian attorney-general, told a press conference in Gaza City the final total could be "billions of dollars". He said 25 officials had been arrested so far, while ten had fled abroad.
Meanwhile, Israel agreed to transfer to the PA about £30 million in customs revenues that it froze last week in response to Hamas's victory, sparking a financial crisis for the PA which was forced to delay paying wages to thousands of staff.
Israeli officials said it had been decided to hand over the money because Hamas had not yet formed a new government. However, unless Hamas changed its stated goal of destroying Israel, no more funds would be transferred after it formally assumed power, they said.
Ghazi Hamed, the editor of Hamas's al-Risala newspaper, said the movement, whose election campaigning promised voters clean government along with continued attacks on Israeli targets, would take up Mr Moghani's findings and encourage him to follow up with indictments after it forms the new cabinet.
Hamas, he added, would try to combat corruption by creating a new post of comptroller-general, whose job it will be to scrutinise every ministry.
The corruption issue, which Mr Hamed says is Hamas's top priority, is believed by analysts to offer the group a chance further to weaken Fatah, which is reeling from its election losses on 25 January.
In Cairo, Musa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas leader, rejected pressure on the movement to recognise Israel, saying the PLO's decision to do so in the past had been a mistake. "Where are the borders of the Israel we are supposed to recognise? Are the settlements included in the borders of Israel? Is the return of refugees acceptable to Israel?" he asked.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces killed three members of Fatah's al-Aqsa Brigades militia during a missile strike in the Gaza Strip, while in the Israeli city of Petah Tikva, a Palestinian stabbed to death a woman and wounded four other people before being stopped by a passer-by who threatened to shoot him with a pistol.
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