Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has allegedly deposited nearly $13 million in U.S. taxpayer aid into a secret bank account, and routinely uses his political connections to profit from the stagnant peace process, according to testimony presented to Congress Tuesday by several Middle East experts. Abbas has enriched himself during his seven years in office through secret land deals, and helped his two sons earn millions of dollars through their stakes in companies that profit from U.S. assistance, the experts said during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing entitled “Corruption within the Palestinian Political Establishment....The corruption just scratches the surface of the Palestinian first family’s shady dealings, experts warned. Abbas has “used his position of power to line his pockets,” declared Rep. Steve Chabot (R., Ohio), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia. “Our policy must aim to empower those who seek to serve the Palestinian people instead of themselves.”
...The Obama administration is not providing proper oversight for the $600 million in U.S. foreign aid to the P.A., [Jonathan] Schanzer, [vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies] noted.“Washington should simply acknowledge that there is a problem,” he said. “The staff at the U.S. Consulate General in East Jerusalem reportedly knows that Palestinians believe their ruling elites are corrupt. But for reasons that are not entirely clear, the State Department has yet to issue a clear statement to address the issue, or what it intends to do about it.”...
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