ECI calls for EU funding to the PA to be made conditional on ending payments to terrorists

ECI at EUBrussels, May 25th, 2016 – The European Coalition for Israel has submitted a report to the European External Action Service (EEAS), EU’s diplomatic service, requesting all financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority be made conditional upon the PA ceasing all forms of incitement and radicalisation, including payments to terrorists. The report was presented in partnership with the organisations ‘International Legal Forum’ and ‘Tous Avec Nous’ from France at an official meeting with EEAS on Wednesday 25th May 2016 in Brussels.

The report exposes how payments to convicted terrorists are continuing to be paid, despite promises by the PA in 2014 that a new Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs under the Palestine Liberation Organisation is now responsible for these payments, whose funds do not come from Western donors. The report also lists examples of institutionalised incitement and radicalisation by the Palestinian Authority, both from official PA channels which glorify violence and martyrdom and from the current PA curriculum in schools which demonises Jews and describes them as “invading snakes”.

The official EEAS position is that the glorification of martyrdom by the PA, the payments of convicted murderers and terrorists and the glorification of violence in school textbooks do not amount to institutionalised incitement or radicalisation. This position was reaffirmed in the meeting, despite the numerous pieces of evidence presented and the school books that were brought.

“Would you accept a textbook teaching your child in school to kill in cold blood civilians of another race or religion? As a human being and as a parent, you would find this morally repulsive, so how can we possibly accept our money being used to fund such textbooks” asked Mr Boaz Gasto, the Director of ‘All With Us – Tous Avec Nous’, the French NGO which initiated the meeting with EEAS.

The European Coalition for Israel (ECI) had raised the issue of corruption and mismanagement of EU funds to the Palestinian Authority back in September 2005, demanding a temporary freeze of funding to the PA.   The European Commission issued such a freeze in December 2005, quoting arguments made in the ECI position paper. Unfortunately, however, the freeze came too late. The terrorist organisation Hamas came into power in January 2006, running on an election campaign to stamp out the corruption in Gaza which the European Commission had denied even existed.

“It is important that the European Union learns from its past mistakes and takes the mismanagement of EU funding to the Palestinian Authority seriously”, ECI Legal Counsel Andrew Tucker stated. “There is a growing concern in the EU Member States about the PA’s misuse of EU taxpayers’ money to incite hatred and radicalisation. This can no longer be ignored. ECI is committed to continuing to raise this issue in national Parliaments across Europe as well as in the European Union in Brussels”, he concluded.

“The Palestinian Authority law sets a mechanism in place which encourages young men and women to go out to the streets and commit acts of terrorism against Israeli citizens, offering a grand reward for every terrorist caught and put in Israeli jails, and the families of those who were killed in the process,” stated Yifa Segal, international lawyer and Director of the International Legal Forum organisation. “The EU’s funding of the PA since 2004 has reached approximately 6 billion dollars, and yet the question as to how the funds contributed to advance Palestinian economy, democracy or other EU values has remained unanswered”.

Similar concerns have been raised over the years from members of the European Parliament and civil society organisations. In an official report in December 2013, the European Court of Auditors called for a serious overhaul of the EU funding mechanism to the PA. In an opinion-editorial in May 2014, then Chairman of the European Parliament Budgetary Committee, Michael Theurer, observed that the Palestinian Authority allocates a significant portion of its budget to paying salaries to Palestinian prisoners convicted of  terrorism offences and concluded that the EU needs to set clear conditions for aid.

More recently, the majority of Swedish Members of Parliament demanded that the Swedish government pays more attention to the misuse of funds by the PA and that it prohibits any funding going towards incitement and glorification of violence. A similar Parliamentary debate is due to take place in the UK in June regarding the corruption and mismanagement of British international aid, which was exposed by the newspaper Daily Mail with its article in March.

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