West Bank Billionaire Launches Third Party

Vows pragmatic option to Fatah and Hamas
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 27, 2007 8:27 AM CST
A Palestinian woman pours olives into the wind to clean them...   (Getty Images)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – A Palestinian billionaire has started a new party that he hopes will give voters a more pragmatic option to Fatah and Hamas. Minub al-Masri, friend of the late Yasir Arafat, says he launched the Palestine Forum to replace "inexperienced" politicians. But third parties are not unprecedented in Palestine, Newsweek reports—and independents rarely gain ground in a society where militias guarantee the peace.

Yet Al-Masri has clout in his favor, having starting the Palestinian phone company and stock exchange—and, despite gaining a fortune by supplying US troops in the first Gulf War, he is not considered a US stooge or Fatah crony. What's more, he is determined. "I'm old for this," he admits. "But I refuse to die before I see a real peace."