Michael Theurer is chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control. Here is an excerpt from a piece he published in the Wall Street Journal yesterday:
In its report, issued 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.
Among other things, the court criticized the absence of any conditions for EU aid to the Palestinian Authority, an approach that reduces the potential leverage of the EU to push for more reforms from the Palestinian Authority. This is a surprising exception to the EU’s famous “more-for-more” principle, according to which the EU offers stronger partnership and more incentives to countries that make more progress toward democratic reforms. This principle applies to every other recipient of EU aid in the world. In other words, the Palestinian Authority is the only body that receives EU funds regardless of its human-rights record or economic performance.
The court also revealed that, since 2007, “a considerable number” of Palestinian Authority civil servants in Gaza have received their salaries partly funded through EU aid—even though they “were not going to work due to the political situation in Gaza.” How exactly does this contribute to peace-building? And how can the EU preserve its credibility back home when it pays salaries to people who don’t work, while millions of European citizens are unemployed?
The court also found that the EU paid insufficient attention to the fungibility of the funds it provided to the Palestinian Authority. There is reason to believe that EU financial assistance has allowed the Palestinian Authority to use its own general budget to support terrorist or criminal activities.
The Palestinian Authority, for example, allocates a significant portion of its budget to paying salaries to Palestinian prisoners convicted of terrorism offenses. These salaries are up to five times higher than the average salary in the West Bank. Prisoners also receive large grants from the Palestinian Authority. According to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in 2012 the Palestinian Authority’s payments to convicted terrorists in Israeli prisons and to the families of deceased terrorists (including suicide bombers) together accounted for more than 16% of the annual foreign donations and grants to the budget of the Palestinian Authority. In February this year the Palestinian minister for prisoners’ affairs announced that €30 million will be allocated to current or former prisoners in 2014. [my emphasis]
At a time when many European economies are struggling, it might seem strange that the EU would flush away so much money in support of a corrupt dictatorship which is moving in the opposite direction from being a viable country, and which behaves in a way that is contrary to the ideals of peace and freedom that the EU purports to espouse.
But that isn’t the end of it. The Europeans, as the EU, as individual governments and in the form of large Europe-based charitable organizations, also provide a large amount of funding — millions of Euros annually — to organizations run by Israelis. These are in general anti-Zionist groups, on the extreme left of the Israeli political spectrum, which would be extremely marginal if they had to depend on domestic contributions.
It is hard to see how either of these enterprises improves the life of the average Palestinian. The corrupt PLO and dole/graft based economy stifle domestic development and maintain the confrontation with Israel. Indeed, the EU is directly financing radical extremism in the PA.
The Israeli NGOs that are nourished by the Europeans also do not play a positive role. In general they act — by means of propaganda, civil (and not-so-civil) disobedience, and legal maneuvers — to limit Israel’s ability to defend itself against terrorism or even outright warfare. They also work abroad to reduce popular support for Israel (for example, the EU-funded ‘Breaking the Silence’ group tours American campuses with a message that the IDF commits war crimes). Again, rather than promote peace, they encourage the most radical elements among the Palestinian Arabs in their belief that Israel can be overcome by force.
I would be remiss if I ended this piece here, because there is another area in which even more millions of Euros are spent, supposedly on behalf of the Palestinians. This of course is UNRWA, the unique Palestinian welfare agency, to which the EU is the second largest contributor, after the US. UNRWA functions to subsidize large families of refugee descendents, while it does nothing to resettle them. It is no more or less than the enabler of the PLO demographic weapon against Israel, and is structured to maintain the people in its care as stateless and mostly jobless paupers, while they receive ‘education’ from teachers associated with various terrorist organizations.
With all this ‘help’ from their friends, the Palestinians are more angry and frustrated than ever. Is that surprising? Not really, because European policy is not really about helping Palestinians. It is not ‘about’ them at all. In reality, it is about the Jewish state, which is the target of all of this money and effort.
That, in a sentence, is why the EU does not care if the money it gives to the PA helps Palestinians. As long as it weakens Israel, it is achieving its objective.
Face it, if aliens from space were to attack Israel, the EU would probably give them a grant!