The European Union Wednesday announced that it has made available €200 million ostensibly to provide basic services to the Palestinian people, reports Parliament Today. The EU provides over €300 million annually to the Palestinians.
About two-thirds of that money is slated to go directly to the Palestinian Authority, particularly to pay the salaries of PA “public workers.” But there are serious questions as to where that aid money actually goes.
To begin with, PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his inner circle have amassed fortunes since taking power. Abbas himself has a net worth estimated at $100 million. (His predecessor, Yasser Arafat, accumulated an estimated $1 billion while in power.)
In addition, official Palestinian media have used funds to produce a steady stream of anti-Israel, and anti-Semitic, propaganda and incitement.
Even more problematic, that aid helps finance generous salaries and bonuses to about 5,000 convicted Palestinian terrorists, according to The Telegraph.
Under the Palestinian “Law of the Prisoner,” those convicted of terror offences are immediately placed on the Palestinian Authority payroll. Salaries are reserved for those “resisting the occupation” only– not those guilty of other crimes.
The more serious the offence, the more money is paid. The longest-serving terrorists receive £2,075 per month, plus bonuses for wives and children. Grants made upon release can be as much as £50,000. That is substantial, as the average Palestinian wage is about £312 per month.
These Palestinian “freedom fighters” include men like Abdallah Barghouti, who is serving multiple life sentences for orchestrating attacks that killed 67 Israeli civilians in 2001 and 2002, including at least seven children and a pregnant woman. Barghouti is likely to have received about £100,000.
A number of other countries, alarmed by the Palestinian terrorist-funding policy, are reexamining their PA aid.
Canada refuses to make any payments directly to the Palestinian Authority, instead only funding humanitarian development projects carried out by international organisations. Norway has made it clear to the Palestinian government that “any policy that can be seen as a policy of reward for terrorism is not acceptable.” The issue has been debated in the Dutch parliament, as well as in Washington.
In December, the European Court of Auditors revealed major dysfunctions in the management of EU financial support to the Palestinian Authority, and called for a serious overhaul of the funding mechanism. The court criticized the absence of any conditions for EU aid to the Palestinian Authority, the only body that receives EU funds regardless of its human-rights record or economic performance.
However, the Palestinian Authority remains belligerent. Speaking on official Palestinian television in November, Issa Karake, the Palestinian Authority’s minister of prisoner’s affairs, said:
“The Europeans want their money that comes to us to remain clean, not to go to families of those they claim to be terrorists. [But European countries] need to renounce this occupation mentality. These are heroes, self-sacrificing fighters… We appreciate the people of the revolution and are proud of them.”