Once in a rare while, Western journalists address the massive problem in the Middle East pertaining to corruption and repression of free speech. Recently, Human Rights Watch released a report on Gaza leaders that showed widespread abuse. The two-year investigation included interviews with nearly 150 people, many of them ex-detainees.
The report showed that Palestinian security forces routinely use torture and arbitrary arrests to quench free speech and peaceful activists, according to Fox News. The notorious repression and push to silence both political opposition as well as ideologically motivated differences of beliefs are allegedly met with: whipping people’s feet, various forms of torture, forcing detainees to give access to suspects’ mobile phones etc. We assume this report – as is routine – will quietly be swept under the mainstream media rug of silence.
The Jamal Khashoggi case, the killing of the journalist with close ties to the Saudi royals, illustrates the widespread problem, in Saudi. The push to open the stage for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman partly derives from – and this few seem to recall – the push to squash the Saudi Wahhabi clerics strong influence on the country, as indicated by Al Jazeera. Naturally, Erdogan, who is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, would enjoy pulling the crown prince’s efforts to the ground. And it was an easy task.
Yet, the problem of repression is rampant from Syria to Libya to Iraq, national unity chronically hindered by questions of “who pays whom” in seemingly endless stories of corruption. This is why it becomes so easy for Western forces to meddle in the autocratic systems of Mideastern affairs, as so many are dead tired of precisely the corruption and lack of freedom in their own countries.
Of course, everyone blames the West for neo-colonialism and correctly so, but shouldn’t it be time soon for Arab leaders’ accountability too? The world is not black and white. Why offer your country to “the wolves” again and again?
And where does the Gaza billions in aid go? Hardly anybody in the West asks the question. They cannot, of course, because it goes against the left-wing narrative that states one should always “feel sorry for” those who do not come from the West, instead of demanding accountability. The racist leftists simply refuse to demand accountability from Arab leaders. No need to mention the innate racism in such an attitude. Nonetheless, addressing Arab corruption remains a no-go.
The hardcore left-wing narrative represents the exact opposite of the traditional value of equality regardless of race, creed or ethnic origin.
We all remember very well how Yasser Arafat died a billionaire, according to Forbes, yet the Western media has not exactly been willing to examine how the billions were earned. Except stating there was abuse.
The estimated international aid controlled by Arafat amounted to around USD 5.5 billion since 1994, and he seems to have overseen all disbursements, according to Forbes.
It sure did not go to the streets of Gaza or Jericho – evident to everyone who has visited the area. No hospitals built, no schools, hardly any roads, houses not rebuilt after Israeli strikes. The money seems to have evaporated into thin air.
Those of us who travel much in this region are used to the local complaints in Gaza and the West Bank over the corruption in the Palestinian Authority, while Bethlehem and other cities look like a rubble of dirt. Many I have spoken to did not even vote during the last election, stating that they knew whoever won would be the next recipient of the millions that should have built Gaza or the West Bank. Something definitely does not add up.
Time magazine writes: “For years Investigators have followed Arafat’s money trail in order to find out how the billions donated to the Palestinian cause have been spent. The web seems to be quite intricate – as it usually is in the Middle East. Everyone keeps quiet about who got what. Yet, speaking with regular Palestinians, the lamentations about the Palestinian Authority corruption is rampant.”
Human Rights Watch pushed for the International Criminal Court to check on both Israeli and Palestinian conduct. This could definitely be a good idea.