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12 Billion Dollars Disappeared in Palestine

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Vienna – 25 March 2010 – During the noon session of the UN Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People on 25 March, I had the opportunity to speak Dr. Ghania Malhis, chairwoman of the board of trustees at the Palestinian Economic Policy Research Institute in Ramallah and one of the speakers at the event.

After a personal conversation, she agreed to let me publish her speech, in which she concludes that, despite the considerable economic help from various institutions of the international community and NGOs – about 20 billion US Dollars over the last 15 years – in her own words “it has been almost impossible to trace any positive impact of these mobilized resources on the ground” and “the GDP of 2009 is 13% lower than the GDP of 1999, and the GDP per capita is 30% lower for the same years”.

There is until now scant explanation for how this money disappeared and where to. Destruction of infrastructure and private property is one important factor in the lack of progress seen. Another explanation is hinted at by an event published on February 15 2010 by the Jerusalem Post, another report was published by Al Jazeera. It was exposed in the English and Arab media that (Al Al), brother of an assistant to Mahmoud Abbas, “bought” land from a dead person near the Jordan River in which has been occupied by the jews for decades and declared as a military area. The land does not exist, but a total of 2.700.000 US$ were paid by the PA from an account at the Bank of Jordan as a price of the land. US$ 750.000 of this sum were reportedly paid as “fees” to the Bank of Jordan itself, what hints at the involvement of this Bank in the embezzlement of funds donated by the international community towards support for the Palestinian people. Other factors of lack of progress in “building a nation” are described in the paper of Dr. Malhis like, like for example the disproportionate spending of the PA for “security”.

I have corrected above introduction to make it clear that it is my commentary and interpretation, and secondly, that the destruction of infrastructure by the IDF and the squatters is an important factor in the lack of success in building the infrastructure needed to run a country.

The whole speech of Dr. Malhis about The Role of Regional Partners is quoted below in its entirety. A PDF file is (here).


The Middle East region is at a critical crossroad, and its future is at stake. Its prospects are intertwined with our ability to review our practices, evaluate our impact, address our challenges, learn from our mistakes, and leverage our resources to fulfill the responsibilities ahead. At the forefront of the international community’s responsibilities are the rights of the Palestinian people; who have undeniably suffered for over 60 years, subjected to occupation, injustice, aggression after aggression, forced to fled their homes and land, and continuously being denied their most basic human rights and those of freedom, self-determination, dignity and citizenship.

The international community’s efforts to address the rights of the Palestinian people are in no way a compensation on the injustice witnessed, rather a duty to implement international laws and resolutions and support a wronged nation to stand on its feet and establish a state.

UN Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People on 25 March.

International and Arab Assistance to the Palestinian People