The wealth of Arafat and the poverty of the Palestinians.

Article published on Feb. 14, 2003
community published
Article published on Feb. 14, 2003

This article has not been vetted by an editor at Paris HQ

Everything Arafat could do (but is not doing) with the money he has.

The President of the Palestinian National Authority, Yasser Arafat, is in possession of at least $1.3 billion, it was stated by Israels Chief of Military Intelligence Aharon Zeevi to the Parliament's Defence and Foreign Affairs Committee last August 13th.

Zeevi has also declared that Arafats reliable treasurer, Mohammed Rashid, an absolute éminence grise with regard to the Palestinian finances, keeps sending funds to Arafat even though he has been officially substituted to Foreign Affairs. The new Palestinian Minister of Finance is Salem Fayad. According to Zeevi, incomes from monopolies controlled by the Palestinian Authority are still paid into Arafats account and Fayad has not yet managed to control the money flow.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee wondered what Arafat could do with the money he has. Here are the results of the survey: With $1.3 billion, it would be possible to build 40,625 houses at $32,000 each, which could house 6 families. Or maybe, with $1.3 billion, the 3 million Palestinians belonging to the Palestinian Authority could eat for one year, saving $892 million that could be used for 1,000 intensive care units at $69,900 each. It would also be possible to finance 10 hospitals like the Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza for 10 years and there would still be $585 million left to finance other social projects such as, for example:

- The computerisation of 10 hospitals (at $4.57 million each)

- annual salaries for 10,000 health service employers ($ 4,200 each one)

- an anti hepatitis vaccine for the 3 million people belonging to the Palestinian Authority ($11.25 each one)

These costs have been calculated on the basis of data provided by NGOs that are involved with humanitarian aid to the Palestinian Authority.