March 18, 2013 -- Brussels -- AJC’s Transatlantic Institute calls on the European Union and other donors to the Palestinian Authority to investigate how aid is spent to ensure it is not being used to reward terrorists. The Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), which coordinates aid contributions to the Palestinian Authority, meets Tuesday in Brussels.
Norwegian state broadcaster NRK TV recently reported that the PA is using foreign aid for payments to convicted terrorists in Israeli prisons. Moreover, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, according to NRK, “confirms that the amounts increase with the length of the sentence.” NRK said that the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, which previously denied the accusations, now concedes that “information that was first communicated to [Norwegian] Parliament, and which was based on information obtained from the PA at the time, in retrospect, is imprecise.” Norwegian Member of Parliament Peter Gitmark (Conservative) called these payments an “indirect” form of funding terrorism.
“These shocking revelations suggest that the more violent and deadly the crime, the more money the perpetrator receives,” said Daniel Schwammenthal, Director of AJC’s Transatlantic Institute in Brussels. “European taxpayers must have absolute certainty that aid to the PA is spent on facilitating peace and not on fueling the conflict through perverse incentives that reward and encourage terror.”
The EU is the single largest donor to the Palestinians. Thus, in December 2012, Syed Kamall, a British Member of the European Parliament, asked the European Commission whether such abuses were taking place with EU funding. While EU High Representative Catherine Ashton assured Mr. Kamall that the EU could “verify the precise destination of every single Euro,” she did not address the questions regarding payments to terrorists.
“Lady Ashton’s failure to answer this critical question is cause for serious concern,” said Schwammenthal. “If the EU is aware of where its aid goes, then Lady Ashton should be able to definitively rule out any abuse of such assistance. Side-stepping Mr. Kamall’s question only raises further suspicion.“
Lady Ashton is hosting the AHLC meeting and Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide will serve as chair. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad will also attend the gathering.
“Both Lady Ashton and Foreign Minister Eide have an obligation to clarify these grave concerns and with the Palestinian Prime Minister there, the AHLC is the ideal place to do it,” Schwammenthal said.