Tuesday, December 10, 2013

10-Dec-13: In Brussels, is the EU preparing to whitewash PA corruption?

European Court of Auditors headquarters
in Luxembourg
As we wrote earlier today ["10-Dec-13: EU may have located the billions it "lost" in Palestine. Or not."], the European Court of Auditors is going to hold a press briefing tomorrow (Wednesday) to announce the release of a report into the funding it has provided to the Palestinians. More precisely and in the EU's own words:
Since 2008, the EU’s largest programme in the occupied Palestinian territory has been PEGASE Direct Financial Support (DFS), which provided approximately €1 billion in funding from 2008 to 2012. This European Court of Auditors performance audit examined if the Commission and the European External Action Service had managed this programme well for that period. [From the EU website]
A respected journalist from the Times of London saw the pre-publication report in October. He then published an article that made headlines on the basis that it showed that
"Billions of euros in European aid to the Palestinians may have been misspent, squandered or lost to corruption, according to a damning report by the European Court of Auditors..."

We have just read over the freshly-posted press release (online here). On our reading, it contains not a hint of any of the "misspending""squandering" and "corruption" to which the Times UK article referred. In fact, the strongest, clearest criticisms it contains, in our view, are these, which are copied word-for-word from the press release: 
  • "several aspects of the programming of funding need strengthening"
  • "there is scope for savings by making more use of competitive tendering"
  • "the complex management system currently in place needs simplification" 
Whew! Devastating, right? 

We probably ought to withhold judgment until the press briefing is over. But here and now, it's as if this ECA report being launched tomorrow is a different audit, unrelated to the investigation the Times described a couple of months back. 

Powerful motto. What does it mean?
We're left with several troubling questions.
  • Is this going to be another EU whitewash of the corruption that has been so central to the descent of Palestinian Arab society into a vortex of terrorism and depravity? We already know that the perpetually out-of-funds PA has mysterious money sources behind them sufficient to make it possible for them to engage in such nauseating stunts as awarding vast cash gifts, huge salaries and the granting of senior PA military and civil service ranks to men convicted of vicious crimes against unarmed civilians who were sentenced to life terms, and then freed from Israeli prison under conditions of extortion ["Abbas gives every freed prisoner $50,000 and a top job", Times of Israel, November 18, 2013]. 
  • Is this a preview of how things are going to be now that the UN has declared 2014 to be the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
  • Is the kid-gloves treatment by the organs of the EU (if that's what we're seeing) of PA malfeasance, corruption and terror-financing going to meet with indifference and apathy by the Europeans whose money is being manipulated and whose interests are supposed to be at the top of Brussels' list of concerns?
UPDATE Wednesday 12 noon: The audit report has been published and is here. Our commentary to follow. 

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