Thursday, March 17, 2005

EU Support for Palestinian Terrorism "Unproven"

A report from OLAF, the European Union's anti-fraud office, says that it has found no proof that EU funds given to the Palestinian Authority were directly used for terrorist purposes. Well, there's a surprise.

It adds, however, that such proof would be pretty much impossible to find, given that internal accounting is not the PA's strong suit. Or, to put it in OLAF's diplomatic words, "Internal and external audit facilities in the PA remain underdeveloped."

Between November 2000 and February 2005, the EU donated some 391.3 million taxpayers' euros to the Palestinian Authority. That's a cool 7.53 million euros a month. One can only wonder what it was spent on. OLAF isn't letting on, because it clearly hasn't got a clue, or if it does, it is far too diplomatic to say.

OLAF also adds:
• Some of the practices of the past, such as the payment of salaries to convicted persons or the financial aid given to families of “martyrs” as well as the Fatah contributions by PA staff, are liable to be misunderstood and so to lead to allegations that the PA is supporting terrorism. These issues should be raised with the PA.

Good idea, that. We wouldn´t want "misunderstandings" of that sort to spoil the prospects for peace. And the new Palestinian leadership means that someone might actually take the time to consider the issues raised. We hope so, because, from a European perspective, the EU comes out of this looking distinctly shifty, for all OLAF's duly diplomatic formulations.
EUROPA - OLAF - OLAF press releases

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