May 1, 2002
JERUSALEM – Israel has relayed evidence to the European Union that its aid to
the Palestinian Authority is being diverted to finance insurgency attacks.
Israeli officials said the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has sent
captured PA documents on the Palestinian use of EU aid.
Over the last year, the EU has provided more than $70 million to the PA to pay
salaries of members of the more than 100,000 Palestinian civil servants. The
EU aid has earmarked for paying the salaries of Palestinian police officers,
Middle East Newsline report Israeli officials said the Sharon government sent a
report to Brussels that details PA use of EU funding.
The report asserts that the PA pays 20 percent less to its officers than
reported to the EU. The difference is pocketed by the PA.
PA officers are said to earn between $250 and $500 a month, officials said.
But their salaries are paid in Israeli currency and based on an exchange rate that
amounts to 3.6 shekels to the dollar. The actual conversion rate is close to five
shekels per dollar.
The result is that the PA earns $2.5 million a month from the EU aid, which it
then uses to fund insurgents, the report said. Officials said a similar report was
presented to the United States.
PA officials acknowledged the discrepancy in exchange rates but said the
practice is used to maintain a cap on public sector salaries.