Abbas is the most corrupt leader in the history of Palestine
Abbas for example has purchased a US$ 50 million plane for himself to use. He has no financial oversight and orders the destruction of financial records every six months. He and his cronies has stolen US$ 500 million to 1.7 billion since 2005.24 Maret 2021 18:00
Fadil Elsalameen, anticorruption activist from Palestine. (Fadi Elsalameen for Albalad.co)
Fadi Elsalameen is a dangerous threat for the President of Palestine Mahmud Abbas. That's why during his visit to his home town in Sumua near Hebron, West Bank, the Al-Aqsa Martyr Brigade issued an explicit death threat against him in March 20.
According to Fadi, the reason of the death threat is directly to his anticorruption work in Palestine. "I have been a vocal critic of President Abbas and his inability to curtail corruption inside the Palestinian Authority," said Fadi in an exclusive interview with Faisal Assegaf from Albalad.co via WhatsApp today.
Fadil told that Al-Aqsa Brigade sent their informants and security personnels to find his place. They also deployed their forces the next day and were planning a raid on a place they thought he was residing in according to what he was told.
The interviewed has conducted for two days because it was suspendend caused by lack of Internet connection. He could not be reached for a whole day that caused of fear he was arrested by Al-Aqsa Brigade.
Why did Al-Aqsa Martyr Brigade publicly announce a dead threat against you?
The reason is directly related to my anti corruption work in Palestine. I have been a vocal critic of President Abbas and his inability to curtail corruption inside the Palestinian Authority.
Did they follow you during your visit to Samuah village?
Yes, they did. They sent their informants and security personal to find my place. They also deployed their forces the next day and were planning a raid on a place they thought I'm residing in according to what I was told.
Are you still in your village?
Not at the moment. But I plan to be there in few days.
Can you describe how bad corruption among Palestinian leaders?
According to the most recent polls, 80% of Palestinians believe that Palestinian Authority is corrupt.
Do you believe this corruption culture has happened since the era of late Yasir Arafat?
I believe it grew more and more since the end of the Arafat era. I made sure it was exposed and I myself was shocked to see how rampant it is.
Can you mention evidences of corruption committed by Palestinian leaders like Abbas, Jibril Rajub?
The evidence we have is against President Abbas. He for example has purchased a US$ 50 million plane for himself to use. He has no financial oversight and orders the destruction of financial records every six months.
Apart from this, he controls the budget, the funds, and the expenditures. There is no financial oversight at all. The problem is not just financial corruption, it’s also nepotism, suppression of the freedom of expression, freedom of speech, etc.
Is it confirmed he has also a US$ 1 million house in Amman?
He has two villas in Amman, his children have places in Lebanon and London with a value of over a million.
Can we conclude Abbas is the most corrupt leader in the history of Palestine?
Yes and the way to qualify this is by looking at the effects of corruption on every aspect of life. It's seen in the health, the education and other parts of the economy. It's destroying the Palestinian way of life and especially with Covid-19 spreading and the PA being unable to vaccinate or provide healthcare in a proper way.
And this rampant corruption in the Palestinian leadership which has blocked young Palestinians generation to take a greater role in politics?
Yes. Abbas is over 80 years old and refuses to relinquish power to anyone, let alone the younger generation. Women are very under represented in Palestinian politics as well.
Why there is no Corruption Eradication Commission in Palestine to tackle corruption?
There was a unit called the anti corruption unit. It should be called the blackmail unit. They keep files to use against politicians instead of prosecuting them for corruption.
This corruption unit already dismissed?
No. Still exists.
Why there is no pressure from international communities on that corruption issue in the Palestinian leadership?
That's a good question. I ask it all the time.
Do you think this ignorance from the international community and donors as the biggest factor to create a rampant corruption in the Palestinian leadership?
If the international community gives generously to the Palestinian Authority and doesn't enforce a mechanism of transparency or empower those like me and others who are asking for accountability, I believe this gives corruption a fertile environment.
Or do they have a hidden agenda to maintain the weakness of the Palestinian leadership that will cause continuously failures to gain their independence from the occupation of Israel?
I believe they genuinely want to help the Palestinians succeed and prosper and we should find ways in palestine to benefit from the aid, fight corruption, and allow this to happen.
If so, why do they ignore about the issue of corruption?
I believe they see it as secondary to the larger issue of peace and stability
How about corruption in other factions like Hamas and Islamic Jihad?
It exists in Hamas per public evidence. I don't have data or evidence on other groups to make a definitive statement.
If corruption are still rampant in Palestine, do you think three elections will be held later this year are still meaningful for Palestinians?
Elections are essential for Palestinians. It is the only way to choose a legitimate leadership. Nonetheless, they are being tampered with now to put everyone but Abbas at a disadvantage. So it is worrisome to watch the lack of transparency in these elections.
Is there any senior Palestinian politician who is not corrupt?
Yes there are few I know of who live a simple and dedicated life to serving the public. Some of them work with Abbas in his office but choose to stay away from corrupt practices.
If Abbas still has an ambition to stay in power, why did he decide to hold three elections this year?
He reached the point where no one in the international community is willing to pretend that he is a legitimate leader anymore. In order to renew his legitimacy he has to hold elections.
Do you believe he will win though there are divisions within Fatah?
He is trying to tailor the elections where he is the only one to win. He is also threatening to shoot anyone else who might challenge him from Fatah.
How about the participation of Muhammad Dahlan? Will he run for presidential election?
I believe he put forward every indication that he will run, but I have no idea if he will be able to or enter the race.
Do you think Hamas will get victory as they did in 2006 parliamentary election?
No. The polls show that Hamas will suffer a brutal defeat in the Gaza Strip and will not do greatly in the West Bank.
Can you mention some senior Palestinian politicians who are not corrupt?
Sure… Nabil Abu Rudainah for example. Lives a simple life.
What about former PM Salam Fayyad?
He is not an official anymore. But he too isn’t corrupt. He is seen as an abbas tool though that enforced unfavorable economic and security policies
According to your reasearch, how much money has been stolen by Abbas and his cronies?
I don't have an exact figure, but it depends on how you count it. It ranges from US$ 500 million to 1.7 billion.
Since he become president in 2005?
Do you aware that UAE are trying to interfere of domestic affairs of Palestine through Muhammad Dahlan?
Yes. I believe they don't make it a secret. They are overtly doing it.
According to you, what is their motive?
I don't know. I'm not privy to such information. But they are making it clear that they are backing Dahlan against Abbas.
Are you planning to run as a candidate for legislative election?
I haven't decided yet.