Funding for Peace Coalition (FPC) Press Release,
August 31, 2004.
The Funding for Peace Coalition is an international ad hoc group of
concerned citizens, interested in peace and alarmed at the absence of adequate
controls and fundamental responsibility in the management of European aid to
the Middle East. The FPC’s activities are undertaken entirely on a voluntary
basis by its members.
The FPC represents people of all religions and of differing political views
and desired outcomes concerning the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian
Arabs. What unites these members is the concern that international aid is not
reaching the Palestinian people, and not making the intended contribution to
peace in the region.
Since 1993, the European Union has contributed over 2 billion euros directly
and indirectly to the Palestinian Authority (PA). Member states have donated a
further 2 billion euros in the same period. The Funding for Peace Coalition has
released a new report detailing the diversion of unprecedented sums of financial
aid from the Palestinian people towards corruption and violence.
The report, entitled “Managing European Taxpayers’ Money: Supporting The
Palestinian Arabs – A Study In Transparency”, exposes evidence showing a
compelling connection between European funding and ongoing Palestinian
corruption and terrorism. It highlights the utter failure of European organisations
to monitor where these funds have been directed. The report details theft,
nepotism, and embezzlement on the part of the PA, supported by incompetence
and apathy on the part of European agencies.
FPC’s work raises the following major issues, each of which strike at the very
sprit of the Constitution of the European Union:
- European aid has not reached its intended target population, but has been
diverted towards graft, terrorism and incitement.
- Despite strong denials from senior European politicians and civil servants,
terrorists, such as those of the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, have been recipients
of Palestinian Authority salaries, which are financed from internationally funded
- Even if European leaders truly believe that Parliament and the public in
general have been given an honest appraisal of the risks involved, it cannot be
stated with conviction that European taxpayers’ money has been managed
transparently and in accordance with the spirit in which it was collected.
FPC’s study does not consider whether or not aid should be given to the
Palestinians, or what level of aid would be appropriate. It begins from the
assumption that it is important to provide aid to the Palestinians. The FPC
report focuses solely on whether this aid is accomplishing the stated goals of
the donor community, and the transparency of its management.
According to FPC’s spokesperson, David Winter, “This new report highlights an
astonishing lack of controls by the authorities in the European Union. The real
facts about the continuing failure of the massive programme of international aid
to the Palestinian people remain largely unreported. Our report shows that the
watchdogs have been asleep on the job and it isn’t for lack of public warning.”
The FPC’s report comes on the heels of growing pressure within Palestinian
ranks, calling for an end to decades of corrupt leadership. According to
Mohammed Dahlan, a former PA Interior Minister, who was quoted in “The
Guardian” earlier this month, all of the funds which foreign countries donated to
the Palestinian Authority, a total of $5bn, “have gone down the drain and we
don’t know to where.”
Aware of the sensitive nature of the report and the need for careful research,
Winter said: “Every piece of information in our report has been thoroughly
checked. The extensive footnoting of the report allows the reader to check any
and every fact presented.”
When asked why was the report was issued, Winter responded. “We believe
that, if we can draw sufficient attention to the issues, the political drive will be
created to ensure that the Palestinian Arabs receive the intended benefit from
the billions in aid channeled through their leadership and institutions. With
proper management, we believe that mutual tolerance can be encouraged and
ultimately regional peace can be achieved. Aid money will then be available to
resolve other, often more pressing, humanitarian issues – possibly such as the
crisis in Sudan and others.”
Asked whether the European Commission had misled the European Parliament,
Winter responded, “This is a key question which the FPC report addresses. For
example, there have been countless reassurances that the PA payroll is tightly
controlled. It is international donors who help pay for these employees. In fact
the payroll has been found to be bloated with fictitious names or compromised
of groups adjudged as terrorists by the EU itself.
Have public funds provided by Europeans been transferred transparently? Have
the Palestinians really benefited from this massive inflow of aid – an estimated
$10 billion from all sources? Members of the interested public are invited to
read the facts in our report and decide for themselves.