I was in Washington, DC watching the ceremony of Israeli killers and murderers shaking hands with Yasser Arafat, who was the most corrupt, incompetent and fraudulent leader in Palestinian history.
I watched as many local Palestinians and Arabs were tripping over themselves as they received invitations to attend the ceremony of the signing of the Oslo Accord, a political and criminal fraud perpetuated by the Arafat’s Palestinian leadership and the PLO.
Oslo was never about ending the Israeli Military and Settler’s Occupation, nor it was about Jerusalem and the Palestinian right of return. It was a financial and security contract between Israel as an occupying power and the PLO as a servant and contractor of the Israeli Occupation.
While Rabin went out of his way to hire the best Israeli and American jurists and negotiators outside of the Israeli government, Arafat on the other hand, lacking any credible team of negotiators or competent lawyers or experts, dispatched a team of two persons lacking any competency in any field, or expertise other than presiding over $ 2 billion in investments that simply disappeared (SAMED Industries) and were never accounted for. They hardly spoke or understood plain English let alone understood the complex legal “Talmudic” language of the Israeli team.
While Israel threw at the Palestinian team a list of over 100 questions of what is their vision, the clueless Palestinians’ only concern was to secure a political and financial future for Arafat and the PLO, which they did. Saving Arafat’s political fortunes and replenishing the looted PLO billions were their only priority.
In return for full unconditional recognition of Israel and its Occupation, Arafat was satisfied to have Israel recognize the PLO as the “sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people”, thus securing the political and financial future of the PLO, locking the future of the Palestinians to an organization that lacks legitimacy and credible governing institutions.
As it happens, Arafat came back with all those who failed to “liberate” Palestine, a team of thugs whom he appointed to head his Preventive Security Forces and money-hungry cronies, ensuring the safety of his “regime” and the safety of the Israeli Occupation and the criminal trespassing settlers and the opportunity of financial windfalls for his cronies.
Many people, especially the Palestinians, simply forget that it was Arafat and his recognition of Israel that opened the doors to Israel in the Arab and Muslim world. Of course, this gave Arabs and Muslims a simple argument – if the Palestinians represented by the PLO can recognize Israel and open channels of communications why not the Arab and Muslim countries?
To further illustrate the corruption and incompetency of Arafat and the PLO, there was never a credible legal department, since Arafat ran the PLO as his own private domain, marginalizing the discredited and shameless Palestinian National Congress that he used as a door mat. Until today, the PLO lacks any credible governing institutions.
When the PLO began to negotiate with Israel after Oslo, Arafat and the PLO discovered that not only had he selected incompetent, almost illiterate ministers to negotiate with savvy, well-educated Israeli counterparts, but he lacked the kind of expertise needed to negotiate important issues such as water rights and borders, etc.
Then came the Adam Smith Institute (British) to the rescue, hiring some of the best legal Palestinian brains from around the world. But then how can a professional team deal with incompetent and stupid political appointees who have no use for well-researched papers, and who prefer to “wing it” rather than deal with a well-prepared Israeli team that came with maps, dates and position papers? There was no comparison between the well-prepared Israeli negotiators and the incompetent, inept, political cronies of Arafat.
A friend of mine, an expert on water and water resources at the World Bank, said that Israel during Oslo and after Oslo came to the World Bank seeking all the data and research on water and water resources of Palestine. The PLO never even bothered to seek similar information.
It is so sad and tragic that the majority of Palestinian political and influential thinkers never dared to addressed or raise questions about the incompetency and corruption of the PLO and its leadership, preferring to give excuses for such leadership over the last 50 years.
One only needs to think of the more than $ 50 billion the PLO saved Israel over the last 25 years by managing and paying the civil administration of the Israeli Occupation; more troubling is the one billion dollars annual budget that goes to the Palestinian Security Forces that never saved one single Palestinian life, nor one single olive tree.
It is unlikely that the Palestinian people will ever hold the PLO and its leadership accountable for all of its failings, never mind about its legendary corruption. They have no one to blame but themselves.
I wonder what all of those who tripped over themselves to attend such an historic and tragic crime at the White House lawn have to say after witnessing the last 25 years of the most criminal fraudulent enterprise to manage the Israeli Occupation. For Palestinians, the Oslo Accord was a political crime that rises to treason.
Sami, a Palestinian-American and a US Army Veteran (66-68), recipient of the “soldier of the month award and leadership award from the 6th Army NCO Academy, is an international legal and business consultant with over 40 years of international experience, in construction, hospitality services, conservation and defense, in the Middle East, Europe and North Africa. Sami is a holder of BA, MPA in Public and Environmental Affairs, Jurist Doctor from Indiana University. While at IU he was elected class president, student government president and chairman of the Indiana Students Association,
Active in peace movement as a co-author of the pre-amble for the One State for All of its people and voluntary service program SalamNation. A frequent contributor on national and international affairs. He resides in the United States.