Wednesday, April 09, 2014

9-Apr-14: Straight talk, crooked dealings: is the role of foreign aid in financing Palestinian Arab terror about to change?

In the European Parliament [Image Source]
A document produced by the Israel Government Prime Minister's Office in January and publicized just today [according to the Jerusalem Post] reiterates the extent to which the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas finances terrorism, making monkeys out of the foreign governments whose aid money makes this possible. Some key points:
  • In 2012, the PA's overall budget was $3.1 Billion of which $786 Million came from foreign aid.
  • The impoverished (by its own description) PA channeled no less than $153.5 Million to terrorists imprisoned in Israel, to their families, and to the families of deceased terrorists including human bombs during that year. 
  • That's 16% of the foreign aid received by the PA in that period.
  • It's also 5% of the PA's annual total budget.
We have written often here about the appalling three-way deal Israel did with the US and the Palestinian Arabs last year as the price for the Abbas regime agreeing in principle to sit down at a negotiating table and talk "peace". None of that eventuated, but what did was that 78 convicted terrorists were released by Israel (of a proposed 104). Today, living in freedom, they get monthly payments from the PA "of up to $3,500, and grants of up to $25,000.

In fact, some get much more. The obscenely flattering Jody Rudoren profile of a released Palestinian Arab killer in the New York Times [Remaking a Life, After Years in an Israeli Prison” front page, March 30, 2014] demonstrated this last week, and quotes numbers. They're large: the Wall Street Journal says today the murderers get paid PA salaries that are "up to five times higher than the average salary in the West Bank."

The Israeli document, stating the obvious, points out that "the Palestinian Authority is highly dependent on foreign aid. This money, which supports the PA budget, is fungible to meet payments for imprisoned and released terrorists... Publicly rewarding convicted murderers gives an official stamp of approval to terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians. It is a highly persuasive form of incitement to violence and terrorism."

(Fungible means "able to replace or be replaced by another identical item; mutually interchangeable"; "money is fungible—money that is raised for one purpose can easily be used for another")

Now to the development: Israel has been transferring certain tax revenues to the Abbas regime for a long time, and is now said to be giving consideration to holding back a sum equal to what the PA spends each month on grants, salaries etc to the terrorists and their families.

Why? Because giving financial support for terrorists "not only violates basic morality," the Israeli document says, but also "encourages further terrorist outrages"...

It's an analysis that might seem straight-forward to some of our readers. (And it is.) But European bureaucrats of a certain mind-set get to very different conclusions. 

We commented on this two weeks ago in "28-Mar-14: Once more: European double-talk on the funding of Palestinian Arab terrorism". In it, we reproduced word for word the public statement of an official of the European Commission, a certain Štefan Füle who, for the past four years, has been the senior person in charge of EU enlargement and neighbourhood policies ("to consolidate peace, democracy and prosperity in Europe"). In the parliamentary chamber, Füle was asked by a Polish Member of the European Parliament to confirm or deny that EU funds are being used 
"to pay salaries to terrorists in Israeli prisons... As the last known case of paying money for killing Jews was in Nazi Germany, will the EU High Representative condemn this practice?". 
The answer, as one might immediately guess, was no. But the rationale is interesting. Füle says he and his colleagues are of course aware of the PA's program of paying "allowances" (his word) to prisoners, but the program is
not and has never been financed by the EU. All the funds the EU allocates to the Palestinian Authority for salaries, pensions and social allocations, are subject to rigorous ex ante and ex post verification procedures, notably including a specific check against a recognised data base of individuals listed as having a connection with terrorism of any sort. Any name which is signalled by the check is automatically deleted from the list of beneficiaries.
And so on. It's a very confident answer, smooth and free of doubt - even though it's composed of double-talk ("rigorous ex ante and ex post verification procedures" is just embarrassing nonsense) and is substantially undermined by things that the EC's own audit body has learned, and recently publicized, about what's wrong with European money flowing into the hands of the Abbas regime and its grabby insiders. 

On that matter, the Wall Street Journal carries an important article today by the chairman of the European Parliament's Committee on Budgetary Control in which he calls the things the auditors found "major dysfunctions". He urges the EC to imposes benchmarks and conditions on the Palestinian Authority as a condition for getting more EU gift money:
These should include improving the state of human rights in the West Bank, cracking down on corruption and cutting off subsidies to convicted Palestinian terrorists. In these hard times, Brussels shouldn't tolerate blatant misuse of EU taxpayers' money. [WSJ, April 9, 2014]
In our March 28 blog post, we said:
Anyone who has reviewed the tragic history of EC double-talk around the subject of money -generously but ignorantly provided by unwitting European taxpayers via their representatives in Brussels - handed over to the Palestinian Arabs, knows that it is rich in language like what's on display here. Don't blame us; we didn't do anything wrong; we have rigorous ex ante and ex post verification proceduresand so on. This sand-in-your-eyes resort to self-parodying language is calculated to do precisely what it achieves: to conceal far more than it reveals
We're not optimistic that a turning point has been reached. Europe and to a great extent the US as well are deeply invested in the Palestinian Authority, and in the moralistic acrobatics that got them to become its financiers. Climbing down from the tree, if it ever happens, would mean many politicians and the bureaucrats who serve them having to own up to being duped again and again, year after year, by the Arafat regime and then the Abbas clicque that took over (or in some cases, to having been co-conspirators, and one prominent British figure knows we mean him).

The chances are slim.

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