Palestinian Authority security personnel over the weekend seized a house belonging to Fahmi Shabaneh, the former Palestinian intelligence official who exposed a series of scandals that have seriously embarrassed the PA leadership.
Shabaneh told The Jerusalem Post that the security forces raided his house in Jericho, destroyed furniture, knocked down walls and confiscated equipment and personal items.
He lives in Jerusalem and holds an Israeli ID card like all permanent Arab residents of the city.
Shabaneh said that the raid was carried out by a joint force belonging to the PA’s General Intelligence Service and the Civil Police.
Until recently, Shabaneh, a lawyer, was head of the anti-corruption unit in the General Intelligence Service. He said that he bought the house in Jericho long before the PA was established and had even allowed senior PA officials to use the house free of charge.
The joint security force arrested a male relative of the former intelligence official who was guarding the house.
The PA issued an arrest warrant for Shabaneh last month after he exposed a sex scandal involving Rafik Husseini, director of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s bureau. The PA has accused Shabaneh of “high treason” and “collaboration” with Israel although he served in the Palestinian security services for nearly 15 years.
Husseini has since been suspended and Abbas has been forced, under public pressure, to establish a commission of inquiry to look into the sex scandal and other cases of corruption that Shabaneh worked on when he headed the anti-corruption unit.
“The raid on my house [in Jericho] does not scare me,” Shabaneh told the Post
. “They have effectively confiscated the house because they have posted policemen at the entrance and are preventing anyone from approaching it.”
Shabaneh said the raid demonstrates that Abbas and the PA leadership are not serious about fighting corruption or investigating the embezzlement of public funds.
“Abbas and his aides want to punish me because I went to the media and exposed how they have been stealing millions of dollars of international aid. Instead of punishing the corrupt guys, many of whom are sitting around Abbas, they are punishing me by confiscating the only house I own.”
Shabaneh, meanwhile, has threatened to expose a new scandal involving Sheikh Tayseer Bayoud Tamimi, chief judge of the Islamic Courts in the PA.
Shabaneh told the Post
that he has issued an ultimatum to Tamimi, the highest-ranking Islamic figure in the PA territories, to resign within a week or else he would publish allegations of sexual misconduct against him.
Shabaneh said that when he was still in his job he received a number of complaints against the sheikh and other judges working in the Shari’a courts in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
He also released a recording of a phone call from last week in which Tamimi pleads with him not to expose details of the scandal he’s allegedly involved in.
“After I publish the case against Judge Tamimi, he will be forced to
resign because he has brought shame on the Islamic courts in
Palestine,” Shabaneh said. “His fate will be similar to that of Rafik
Husseini, whom we filmed naked in the bedroom of an Arab woman from
Shabaneh added that he also had incriminating material against a former
PA minister who lives in the Jerusalem area. “He will be the next in
line,” he said. “This minister has also been begging me not to expose