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December 10, 2002

Another Example of the Israeli Left's Perfidy

JTA reports that a new financial scandal could hurt both Arafat and Israel’s Labor Party

Yossi Ginossar, a former senior official in the Shin Bet security service, and his partner Ezrad Lev...succeeded in opening the doors of Switzerland’s Lombard Odier Bank to the Palestinian money.

The cooperation continued until the summer of 2001, well into the Intifada.

Like some other former senior officers, Ginossar had been involved in business transactions between Israeli and Palestinian companies ever since the early days of Palestinian Authority rule under the Oslo peace accords. The Palestinians dubbed him “Mr. 5 Percent,” a reference to the commissions he earned on business deals.

The hidden Swiss accounts eventually grew to more than $300 million. The Israeli partners managed the accounts, though they were not authorized to make withdrawals.

But then, in August 2001, something unexpected happened: Mohammed Rashid, Arafat’s closest financial advisor, suddenly withdrew some $65 million from the account, which then couldn’t be traced.

Lev suspected the money was going to finance terrorist activities...

[T]he depth of Israeli involvement in the accounts...undermined international pressure on Arafat to implement fiscal reforms and full financial accountability...

The Israelis believed that financial interactions with the Palestinian Authority — even if not strictly kosher — ultimately would strengthen ties and lead to a peace agreement.

“They believed that the strengthening of the dictator would bring about a strong peace,” Israel’s housing and construction minister, Natan Sharansky, said this week. “The money which was designed to serve the Palestinian people went, with the knowledge of Israel’s governments, to the private bank accounts of Arafat.”