With the International Monetary Fund estimating that the late Yasser Arafat could have been holding funds over £500,000,000 in various accounts around the world and US Intelligence putting this figure as high as $5 billion, Michael Fabricant has tabled urgent parliamentary questions today (Friday) to Gordon Brown and Hillary Benn, the Secretary of State for International Development.
"I have asked the Treasury to determine whether any of President Arafat’s accounts are held in the UK and, if so, whether they hold any funds obtained unlawfully. I have also asked the Department for International Development what estimate it has made of any British or European Union aid money held in these private accounts. It is vital that any such money be used at long last to benefit the impoverished Palestinian people on the West Bank and Gaza and not the friends, cronies, and relatives of the late Yasser Arafat" says Michael Fabricant
Earlier this week, Michael Fabricant asked Prime Minister Tony Blair whether any consideration had been given as to who would succeed Arafat in Palestine and asked if Mr Blair accepted the whole peace process "is on a cusp" depending on who might follow as President of Palestine.
Mr Blair said it was important to proceed with measures that would allow elections in the Palestinian authority to take place and that ministers had been empowered to take decisions on security. But, he added: "I agree it’s very much in the balance at the moment. It’s important that we ensure there is a Palestinian leadership that wants to make progress in the Middle East and then it’s for the international community to give that moderate Palestinian leadership support."