Roger L. Simon

Bowling for Dollars (or is it Euros?)

That show is probably long in reruns, but don’t blame the late Yasir Arafat and his Palestinian Authority posse. According to a disconcerting report today by the NY Sun’s Roderick Boyd, the old caudillo and his cronies have been knocking down a lot of ten pins at a lane near you (or relatively):

Greenwich Village’s Bowlmor Lanes is widely known as a popular place for drinks, children’s parties, or bowling a few games at night or on the weekend. Less well known is that Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority gets a cut of every beer bought and pair of shoes rented at Bowlmor, via the $799 million Palestinian Investment Fund.

I wondered where all those Euros were going. There’s more in the article, of course. Boyd interviewed historian Rachel Ehrenfeld who said “the “so-called donors” to the Palestinian Authority – including many member states of the European Union and the World Bank – who demanded the valuation would not have wanted to see a full accounting of the Palestinian Authority’s finances from its inception in 1994.

“Arafat had $10 billion in assets in mid-1994, and this one-year snapshot contains less than $800 million,” she said. “They don’t want to know about the other $9 billion because they don’t want to know how rich Arafat was, or how much he paid to murder thousands of Israelis.”

Ms. Ehrenfeld, who has written and lectured extensively on terrorism financing, was highly critical of the Palestinian fund’s rush to transparency.

“It’s nearly useless,” she said of S&P’s valuation work. “It covers only one year, it’s already a year old, and doesn’t offer any comparison to the previous years.”

As we know, a lot of noise is currently being made about opening the aid floodgates to the Palestinian Authority again. Everyone seems sorry for the children of Jenin. Well, me too, I guess. But this time let’s make sure the money goes to those kids, not Saeb Erekat’s tailor. Or bowling alleys in the Village.

UPDATE:SoccerDad has more.