Funding Evil: How Terrorism Is Financed – And How To Stop It is a valuable new publication by Bonus Books. Introduced with a Foreword by former CIA Director Jim Woolsey, it draws upon Dr. Ehrenfeld’s many years of specialized research into the shadowy world of criminal finance and details very precisely the names of states, organizations and charities that sustain international terrorism. Especially meaningful today is her correct identification of the PLO as the “terrorist prototype.” Sordid and corrupt from its inception, we learn from Ehrenfeld, “The PLO model not only established a precedent for other terrorist organizations, but also most likely served as an inspiration for Osama bin Laden when he set out to create the financial infrastructure of al-Qaeda.”
How little the “educated” world understands of the PLO and the thugocracy still known politely as the Palestinian Authority (PA). Even now, while the world worries that the PA, founded in 1993 under the Oslo Accords, is being treated unfairly by Israeli “occupiers” (Israel is less than half the size of Lake Michigan and seeks desperately an Arab negotiating partner that is animated by something other than carnage and murder), PA officials have stolen and misappropriated hundreds of millions of dollars. While ordinary Palestinians are left to fester in abject poverty and to take comfort in ecstatic visions of blown-up Jewish children, the PLO/PA – documents Ehrenfeld – maintains five billion pounds in numbered bank accounts in Zurich, Geneva and New York, with smaller sums banked covertly in Asia, North Africa and elsewhere in Europe. “The PLO records also reveal,” she continues, that it “owns shares on the Frankfurt, Paris and Tokyo stock exchanges,” including holdings in Mercedes- Benz and prime property locations in Paris, London, Geneva and New York.
No one follows the Palestinian money trail more assiduously or expertly than Dr. Ehrenfeld. Director of the New York-based American Center for Democracy, her comments on this trail of unparalleled corruption have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The National Review, the EU Observer, The Jerusalem Post and The New York Sun. Here, as well as on frequent television appearances on The O’Reilly Factor, Fox News, CNN, NBC and MSNBC, she illuminates how Islamic/Arab terrorists in general – and the PLO/PA in particular – carefully deceive naive world publics about their activities. Even as Arafat and his cronies continue to justify their monstrous deeds in the name of “self-determination” or “national liberation,” Ehrenfeld reminds us that the Palestinian “President” has fashioned 27 monopolies to ensure that he and his loyalists profit personally from every essential industry servicing Palestinian populations.
Arafat’s slush funds allow him to buy loyalty wherever needed. For example, he gave $50,000 for the wedding of the daughter of then cabinet minister Nabil Amr (neither he nor Amr was evidently interested in her becoming a “martyr;” that honor is normally reserved for the most desperately poor Palestinian “constituents”), and lavished large sums of money on friends for the construction of expensive private homes which tower conspicuously and shamelessly above the fragile shelters of ordinary Palestinians.
The PA remains actively engaged in the counterfeiting of Israeli, Jordanian and Kuwaiti currencies. In April 2002 the IDF (Israel Defense Force) discovered large quantities of counterfeit Israeli currency directly in Arafat’s compound in Ramallah. Small wonder that the PA does not welcome any Israeli access to this compound. This area is less the seat of government of an aspiring Palestinian state than the core command post of a vast criminal enterprise.
Supporting Ehrenfeld’s analyses, Forbes indicated recently that Arafat “feasted on all sorts of funds flowing into the Palestinian Authority, including aid money, Israeli tax transfers and revenue from a casino and Coca-Cola bottler.” Mohammed Dahlan, former head of the PA “security services” in Gaza, augmented his salaried income by collecting protection money from all suppliers of oil, cigarettes and other commodities, receiving kickbacks for issuance of licenses and also from “border crossing fees.”
The PLO/PA story is bad enough on its own terms; it becomes even worse, however, when we learn that extensive Palestinian corruption and crime are routinely integrated with the ceaseless promulgation of hate. Everywhere in the Arab/Islamic world, but especially in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, virulent hatred of Jews is the dominant vision of “jihad.” As I have pointed out frequently in my own published writings, from the standpoint of authoritative international law, the hatred incorporated and codified in Palestinian schoolbooks and public declarations is more than merely loathsome. It is authentically genocidal.
Quoting Vaclav Havel’s remark in Prague in 2001 that “fighting corruption is fighting terrorism,” Dr. Ehrenfeld identifies very precise and essential remedies in her concluding chapter, Prospects For Change. In view of the uniquely destructive terrorist harms to which we are all now exposed, these remedies should be studied and taken with great seriousness by governing authorities in Washington, Jerusalem and elsewhere. For these authorities, together with more general readers who would seek compelling proof of argument, Dr. Ehrenfeld supplies Appendices containing both maps and Palestinian Authority documents. Considered in concert with her engaging and meticulously-researched text, these parts of Funding Evil comprise an indispensable intellectual weapon in our ongoing War Against Terror.
Copyright The Jewish Press, 2003, All rights reserved.
LOUIS RENE BERES was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971) and is author of many books and articles dealing with terrorism and international law. He is Strategic and Military Affairs Analyst for The Jewish Press.