Standing Up to Arafat

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Not many Palestinians have stood up to Yasser Arafat (search) and lived to tell about it. But a Palestinian banker named Issam Abu Issa has. Mr. Issa sued Yassar Arafat and the Palestinian Authority after they confiscated his bank in 1999. He went on to expose how Mr. Arafat and his cronies moved Palestinian funds into their own Swiss bank accounts.

So when Mr. Issa arrived in the U.S. last week to provide more documentation of Mr. Arafat’s corruption, the last thing he expected was to be accused of money laundering on behalf of terrorists and sent back to London. The folks who invited Mr. Issa to the U.S. were furious.

“Issam Abu Issa is definitely not a Palestinian supporter of terrorism,” says Hudson Institute scholar Meyrav Wurmser. “On the contrary. He has been fighting the Palestinian Authority because of its corruption and support of terrorism.”

So how was the mistake made? Mr. Issa believes that the State Department is either incompetent or that it does not want more information presented that would embarrass Yassar Arafat. When reached in London, he told the New York Sun, “I was going to tell the U.S. Congress the way things really are… but maybe [those in the State Department] don’t want Arafat to be exposed.”