Palestinians are much in the news these days for obvious reasons. I was recently reminded about the only leader of theirs that I've ever known much about, and that was the delightful Yasser Arafat. Most of us will remember him; he was a well known figure on the world stage, and I'm sure he enjoyed the limelight.
He became a very wealthy man. Allegedly he had all Palestinian VAT tax receipts diverted to his private foreign bank accounts, building up a personal fortune of about $1.3 Billion. His private investment portfolio included a Coca Cola Bottling plant, A Tunisian Cell Phone Co, and various Venture Capital Funds in the USA and Cayman. The perfect capitalist, who just also happened to be the founding father of the SOCIALIST Fatah movement. Or as they say in Socialism "Do as I say, not as I do".
Sadly the Palestinian people never received any of the tax returns destined for their desperately needed infrastructure, health facilities, and social reform. The man was simply a bloody thief.
These days the leaders of Hamas, Fatah, or the PLO (if it's still operating) are no longer well known names or faces. They hide away behind schools and hospitals, probably stealing money as did Arafat; spending their spoils on weapons rather than food, utilities, or medical care. Arafat-ism is alive and well, and living in Gaza, where a healthy foreign bank account is probably as handy now as it was in Arafat's day.
Arafat ended his days in France in 2004, and I believe that the French government helped empty his Swiss bank accounts in exchange for his medical treatment. Presumably his thieving prevented the building of decent hospitals back at home, where they might have treated both him and many others. His body was later flown back to Ramallah where he was buried.
I don't know if he is still given sainthood status by the Palestinians, but if they really wish to honour an absolute scoundrel, I suppose it's their prerogative.
His wife, the fragrant Suha, also embezzled Millions, which were relieved of her after she quit The West Bank for a more luxurious life in Europe. She was well known for her extravagant shopping trips to London, Paris, and Rome, where she spent 'fortunes'. The last that was heard of her, she was broke, and living quietly in Malta (with her brother?).
The poor ordinary Palestinians deserved, and deserve, so much better.