Officials closely linked to Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas are being investigated by a Palestinian watchdog group for corruption, nepotism, and mismanagement. The Coalition for Transparency in Palestine announced yesterday that it was checking into no fewer than 29 claims that PA officials stole public funds.
Endemic corruption within political institutions has long been a critical factor in undermining Palestinian statehood efforts. The PA has failed to secure political legitimacy in no small part due to public antipathy generated by that corruption, and Abbas is now in the ninth year of his four-year term. The PA has also failed to achieve economic stability, and a recent political gambit that saw Abbas accepting the resignation of a U.S.-backed political rival has endangered critically needed economic assistance.
The PA has also failed to establish sovereignty over the full territory it declares as Palestinian, and a stalemate in unity talks this week makes it unclear whether the organization will ever be again able to assert control over the Gaza Strip. The lack of political legitimacy, economic stability, and de facto sovereignty together complicate Palestinian pretensions toward statehood.
[Photo: Olivier Pacteau / Flickr]