Backtrack and Double Down! EU to Triple Financial Aid to Gaza Despite Concerns of Funding Hamas

RAMALLAH, WEST BANK - JUNE 14: President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen a
Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The European Union announced that it will triple financial aid to Gaza despite concerns and allegations that such funding props up the radical Islamist Hamas terror organisation.

At the urging of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen pledged that the bloc would increase its current humanitarian aid by 50 million euros ($53/£43 million) to Gaza, up from the 25 million euros already committed.

“The Commission will immediately increase the current humanitarian aid envelope foreseen for Gaza by 50 million euros. This will bring the total to over 75 million euros. We will continue our close cooperation with the UN and its agencies to ensure that this aid reaches those in need in the Gaza Strip,” von der Leyen said following a call with Guterres.

“The Commission supports Israel’s right to defend itself against the Hamas terrorists, in full respect of international humanitarian law. We are working hard to ensure that innocent civilians in Gaza are provided support in this context,” the German politician added.

European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič added: “The Commission is doing everything in its power to provide humanitarian support to civilians in the Gaza Strip. This tripling of EU humanitarian assistance will help ensure that civilians in Gaza can be provided with the basic necessities required.

“It is essential that safe and unrestricted access for humanitarian aid is ensured.”

The decision to triple its current aid package to Gaza came just days after EU commissioner Olivér Várhelyi announced the suspension of all Palestinian aid. However, later that day, the EU backtracked on the move following backlash from member states including Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal, and Spain.

The initial decision by Brussels to suspend aid to Palestine was over a concern that such funding may be used to embolden the Hamas terror group, which serves as a de facto governing force in the Gaza Strip after seizing control and abolishing elections in 2007.

The EU is the largest financial backer of the Palestinian Authority, which claims to rule in part over Gaza and areas of the West Bank, having committed around €691 million ($728/£597 million) to the territories this year, alone. The bloc is expected to send a total of €1.18 billion between 2021 and 2024 to the region.

Following the murderous Hamas terror attacks on Israel, which left over 1,300 dead and at least 199 kidnapped, Brussels vowed to “ensure that no EU funding indirectly enables any terrorist organization to carry out attacks against Israel”.

However, given that money is fungible, it is not out of the realm of possibility that EU aid could be used in order to free up resources that Hamas would have otherwise been forced to spend. On Monday, the Israel Defence Forces claimed, for example, that Hamas terrorists used first aid kits supplied by the United Nations during their assault on Israel.

Brussels has previously faced criticism for some of its aid being directed towards producing antisemitic textbooks used in Palestinian schools. It is even claimed Hamas has previously dug up water pipes built with humanitarian aid money to bring clean drinking water to the people of the Gaza Strip to recycle the strong steel tubes into rocket casings instead.

Last week, Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Lior Haiat said that some of the blame for the recent terror attacks should be placed on the EU for funding the radicalisation of Palestinian youths.

“Those textbooks are the root of the Palestinian terror against Israelis. Young people are being taught, educated, to hate Jews and to murder Jews,” Haiat said, adding: “The entire international community should review the way that they see the conflict here.”

Europe is not the only power that is boosting aid. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Monday that his government was going to increase the money sent to “the Palestinian people” by an additional ten million pounds. “An acute humanitarian crisis is unfolding to which we must respond. We must support the Palestinian people because they are victims of Hamas too”, he said.

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