Palestinian officials not shy about shopping for luxuries in Israel

Special to

WASHINGTON — Palestinian leaders, despite their calls for economic
boycott, have been benefiting from their ties to Israel, a report said.

The Gatestone Institute reported that leading members of the ruling
Fatah movement were frequenting Israel for services and goods. The institute
cited the flow of leading Palestinians granted access by the Israeli
government to luxury goods and services around the Jewish state.

Shopping mall in Haifa, Israel.

“Top PLO and Fatah officials continue to do their shopping in
Israeli-owned businesses both in the West Bank and Israel,” the report,
titled “The Palestinian Authority’s Inconvenient Truths,” said.

The report said an unidentified member of the Palestine Liberation
Organization Executive Committee and his family were seen in a leading mall in Jerusalem. Report author Khaled Abu Toameh said the Palestinian figure was one of more than 100 senior PLO and Fatah officials issued VIP cards to enter Israel.

“Of course, the PLO official did not forget to bring along his private
driver and maid,” the report said.

The report was issued as the PA has been struggling with the economic
crisis in the West Bank. PA security forces have been confronting Fatah and other protesters in several cities amid the failure to pay salaries to civil servants. At the same time, more than 55,000 Palestinians have been working
in Israel as well as in Jewish communities in the West Bank.

Abu Toameh, who specializes in Palestinian affairs, said leading
Palestinians preferred to acquire medical and other services from Israel. He
cited the wife of a senior PLO official who spent $20,000 for dental
treatment in Tel Aviv “at a time when there is no shortage of renowned
Palestinian dentists in Ramallah, Bethlehem and Nablus.”

Palestinian journalists have censored these reports, Abu Toameh said. He
cited the fear of journalists of arrest by the PA as well as ideological

“These journalists have been taught that it is forbidden to hang out the
dirty laundry,” the report, dated Jan. 3, said. “Palestinian Authority
security forces in the West Bank continue to summon and arrest political
opponents, journalists and bloggers who dare to criticize the Palestinian

Fear of the PA has also driven dozens of Christians families from Arab
to Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem, the report said. Christians from the
Gaza Strip were also said to have asked for asylum in Israel.

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