Time for the EU to rethink its Palestinian aid policy

It is time for the EU to consider a radical overhaul to its Palestinian aid policy. Demanding greater accountability for its money would be a good start

Where is the money going?
Arsen Ostrovsky
On 24 September 2012 11:37

The European Union’s funding policy towards the Palestinians could best be described by Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Last week, the EU announced it will double its aid for Palestinian development and the Palestinian Authority to €200 million in 2012, with a further directive that €100 million aid credits unspent last year to be also spent in 2012.

Since 1994, the EU has poured at least €5 billion in aid to the Palestinians, making it the single-largest multilateral donor. But what has the EU got to show in return? The answer is very little – except more Palestinian terror, corruption and a stagnant “peace process”. 

With Europe in the midst of a generational economic crisis, the time has long since come to ask whether the EU should even continue funding the PA at all.

Most of the latest batch of EU funding is intended for various “humanitarian” projects (like water, public services, infrastructure) in Hamas-controlled Gaza and for Palestinian refugees, including to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNWRA).

The EU though appears seemingly oblivious to the fact that Hamas, which refuses to recognize Israel’s existence and is sworn to the destruction of the Jewish state, is classified as a terrorist organization under the EU’s own laws.

Even noble projects designed to help Gazans, effectively fund the terror regime which controls the Gaza Strip; while the EU simply cannot guarantee that money for these projects will not end up in the hands of Hamas and used for terror.

In the meantime, UNRWA continues to be one of the major obstacles to peace in the Middle East, by continuing to perpetuate Palestinian economic dependency on foreign aid and artificially inflating the number of legitimate Palestinian refugees, making the issue all but an insurmountable barrier to peace.

And then of course there is PA President Mahmoud Abbas – a man hailed by many in the West as a “moderate” who yearns for peace, yet at the same time has invited Hamas into his government and repeatedly shunned Prime Minister Netanyahu’s offers to negotiate peace.

Moreover, under Abbas’s leadership, the PA has done very little to nothing to stop the virulent anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incitement in PA controlled media and schools; public squares and streets continue to be named after terrorists; while the PA is also cracking down on press freedoms in the West Bank by jailing and censoring journalists who dare criticize its leadership.

In the meantime, corruption still continues to rule the PA. Abbas’ term as President expired in January 2009 yet he has repeatedly postponed new elections. In this time, Abbas has managed to amass a vast personal fortune, while further consolidating his grip on power – most notably by sidestepping and usurping his own Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad on monetary oversight.

Except for the keffiyah, Abbas has become indistinguishable from Arafat, with corruption still rampant throughout the PA.

Those that oppose cutting aid to the Palestinians will argue that it will undo Fayyad’s impressive “institution building”. However, it is important to keep in mind that very little economic or institutional activity could have been achieved without Israel’s security presence there.

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