Where Is OLAF?

by Brad Nielson

February 6, 2005

There comes a time to put aside dry commentary and ask simple questions about the failure of European leaders to help those who have been promised and need their assistance.

The Europeans have donated over 4 billion to the Palestinians since 1993. Roughly half has come out of Brussels. In 2004 alone, 250 million were made available from the European Community budget through the World Bank Trust Fund and through UNRWA. This has encouraged sovereign countries to make similar contributions over the years.

It is now openly accepted that much of this money has been diverted to other sources. The Palestinian Authority itself has admitted that it has financed terrorist activity by the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades and others.

The World Bank itself says that that 55% of those who receive emergency assistance are not needy, and that 32% of the needy do not receive emergency assistance. So, yet again, for the umpteenth time, we ask: "Where has the money gone?"

OLAF, the EU's Anti-Fraud Office, has committed itself to reporting on this issue, albeit with a deliberately limited scope. That was over two years ago.

Its most recent report, its Fifth Activity Report ending June 2004, OLAF claims that an analysis of the funding provided to the Palestinians would be released by the end of December 2004.

And yet, after over two years in waiting and after teams have been sent to the Middle East to gather evidence and after all the cups of tea have been refilled, not a word has been publicly released.

What is OLAF trying to hide and why?

In the meantime, who suffers? The Palestinian Arabs. They have yet to receive vast elements of the investment, which they have been promised. As for the taxpayers, whose money has been promised for services and goods undelivered, well they can only hope that the new European Commission will be more transparent in its operations than its predecessor.

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