How Europe Continues To Fund Violence

February 5, 2007

The stories from Gaza in the European papers are concentrating increasingly on the spiraling internal violence. Despite high unemployment and a struggling economy, all sides are prepared to plough valuable resources into violence rather than securing peace.

And yet, in parallel, Western governments continue with the mistakes of the past. Donations continue to flood into the Palestinian territories. Ostensibly, the aid is secured in the name of improving humanitarian conditions. In practice, there is no visible attempt to track where the money ends up.

To take some specific examples, Finland and Spain have together promised an additional 8 m in indirect aid. This support, given via the World Bank's Temporary International Mechanism, funds the basic Palestinian Authority (PA) budgetary items. Thus, other "income" is freed to secure the salaries of the Al-Aksa Martyrs and other militant groups for another few months.

The following are 2 articles, detailing the continuing flow of funds from Europe's taxpayers to the PA.

Palestinian Presidency accepts one million euros from donor that will not deal with government

(Ramallah) Rashid Hilal: Friday, 12 January 2007

The Office of the President signed with the Finnish government a one million euro deal on Friday to support the European Temporary Mechanism in providing assistance to the staff of the Palestinian National Authority and humanitarian cases.

The agreement was signed this afternoon by the President's Chief of Staff, Dr. Rafiq Husseini, and the Finish representative to the Palestinian Authority at the Presidential Offices in Ramallah.

Dr. Al Husseini told reporters that the "importance of the agreement lies in its aim to support the European Fund which provides direct emergency assistance."

He said that the institution of the presidency signed the agreement as the "donor countries are unwilling to deal with the Palestinian government." Dr. Al Husseini says that is because the government does not recognize some conventions signed by the Palestine Liberation Organization.

On behalf of the Palestinian people, Dr. Al Husseini thanked the Finish government for its support of Palestinian rights and its contribution to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people.

Spain offers aid to Palestinian president

France 24 - 26 January 2007

Spain is to provide seven million euros (nine million dollars) to the office of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said.

Moratinos made the announcement after talks in the Spanish capital with Palestinian chief Mideast peace negotiator Saeb Erekat.

Abbas was in Madrid on his way to Jordan and then an African Union summit next week in Addis Ababa, after attending the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Abbas earlier held talks with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero at which the Spanish leader underlined Madrid's commitment to finding a settlement to the conflict in the region.

Spain two weeks ago hosted an international meeting in Madrid to mark 15 years since a full-blown Middle East conference in the city at which participants urged a new impetus to revive the stalled process.

Moratinos, former EU Mideast envoy, used the occasion to continue Spanish lobbying to host another conference and proposed Arab participation in the "Quartet" comprising the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia.

On Saturday, Abbas was to wind up his Spanish visit by meeting the leader of Spain's main conservative opposition Popular Party, Mariano Rajoy, and the leader of the pro-Communist United Left, Gaspaz Llamazares, the leaders' parties said.

Spain has offered the Palestinians increasing support seeing the Middle East as a key focus of its diplomatic efforts, with aid reaching 31.5 million euros in 2005 and 46.8 million euros last year, according to official figures.

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