Tuesday, June 23, 2020
European funding to the Palestinian Authority may end up in the hands of Palestinian terrorists who commit attacks against Israel. This conclusion was presented in a report by the Palestinian Media Watch, at a meeting hosted by MEPs Bert-Jan Ruissen (NL) and Charlie Weimers (SE) on Tuesday. The webinar was organized in collaboration with the ECR Group, ECPM and the Israel Allies Foundation.
The European Union donates hundreds of millions euros annually to the Palestinian Authority (PA). The PA gives around 50 million euros per quarter to the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). The PLO in turn gives money to EU-listed terrorist organizations such as the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.
"It is very bizarre that this route is not prohibited," says Bert-Jan Ruissen. “The EU does have rules against financing terrorist activities within the EU and for terrorists and NGOs outside the EU. Recently the EU has stopped funding the Palestinian NGO Badil, because it refused to exclude terrorist activities. But non-European governments and government agencies that receive EU money are slipping through the loopholes of the law. ”
Bert-Jan Ruissen insists on a thorough investigation: "It should absolutely not happen that European taxpayers' money is used in attacks on Israel."
MEP Charlie Weimers states that it is very problematic that time and again concerns are raised about EU money ending up with terrorist groups. “Terrorism and incitement run entirely counter to peaceful conflict resolution. If and where loopholes exist in EU counter-terrorism financing legislation, they must be closed immediately. It is also our moral obligation as MEPs to ensure that no tax-payer’s money is funnelled in support of terrorism”.
Josh Reinstein, President of the Israel Allies Foundation welcomed this webinar and wondered why while more and more countries (even Islamic countries) are getting closer to Israel, the EU seems to move further away and that the funding of the Palestinian Authority should be reviewed critically.
Together with other MEPs, they called for full implementation of existing EU and international rules that forbid terrorist financing. Furthermore, they called on the European Commission to ensure that no EU funding would, either directly or indirectly, end up in support of terrorist activities, groups and their affiliates.
Itamar Marcus, director of Palestinian Media Watch, drafted the worrying report highlighting the loopholes in EU counter-terrorism legislation. He stated that "the EU criminalized a long list of terrorist support activities in 2017. But the EU is giving money to the PA, which carries out numerous criminalized terrorist support activities almost every day. If the PA were to conduct such activities in Brussels, they would end up in jail. How can the EU finance terrorists outside the EU who would be imprisoned in the EU? Do non-EU citizens not deserve the same protection against terror that EU citizens deserve?”
Branislav Skripek, president of the ECPM, summarized the presentation and stated that “although the European Union has been taking positive steps to avoid European funds going to NGOs supporting terrorism, this report shows that there are still loopholes in the framework of EU's support of the Palestinian Authority. It is important to make clear that we do not accept any EU funding for the finance of Palestinian terrorism. EU money can never be used to spread hate. If you are sowing bad seed, you will get a bad tree, which produces bad fruit. The safety of Israel (including its citizens) should be a priority of EU's policy on the matter.”