LONDON, UK (PRWEB) August 31, 2004
The Funding for Peace Coalition (FPC) has released a new report detailing the diversion of unprecedented sums of financial aid from the Palestinian people towards corruption and violence.
The FPC report is entitled ÂManaging European TaxpayersÂ Money: Supporting The Palestinian Arabs Â A Study In TransparencyÂ. It publishes evidence, which substantiates a compelling connection between European funding and ongoing Palestinian corruption and terrorism. It also 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.
Since 1993, the European Union has contributed over Â2 billion directly and indirectly to the Palestinian Authority (PA). Member states have donated a further Â2 billion in the same period.
FPCÂs work raises the following major issues, each of which strike at the very sprit and letter of the European UnionÂs Constitution:
European aid has not reached its intended target Â the Palestinian people. It has been diverted towards graft, terrorism and incitement to hatred.
FPCÂs study does not deal with the question of whether aid should be given to the Palestinians, or what level of aid is appropriate. It assumes that providing aid to the Palestinian people is important and helpful to the cause of peace. The FPC report focuses on whether aid transfers from European sources are accomplishing the stated goals of the donor community, and on the transparency of its management.
According to FPCÂs spokesperson, David Winter, ÂThis 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 isnÂt for lack of public warning.Â
The FPCÂs 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, quoted in ÂThe GuardianÂ earlier this month, all of the funds which foreign countries donated to the Palestinian Authority, a total of $5bn, Âhave gone down the drain and we donÂt know to where.Â
Winter adds: ÂEvery 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.Â
Why is there a need for this report? Winter says: ÂWe 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 Â possibly such as the crisis in Sudan and others.Â
Asked whether the European Commission had misled the European Parliament, Winter responded, ÂThis 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 comprised of groups adjudged as terrorists by the EU itself.Â
$10 billion in aid has been funneled to the Palestinians. Have these funds, which are paid for by European taxpayers, been transferred to the right people? Have they been managed in acceptable ways? Has the Palestinian public benefited?
The availability of this new report means that the interested public can read the facts and decide for themselves.
ÂManaging European TaxpayersÂ Money: Supporting The Palestinian Arabs Â A Study In TransparencyÂ can be downloaded at http://www.eufunding.org/FPC2004Report.pdf PDF format)
Background: 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 represents people of a variety of religious and ethnic backgrounds and of political views concerning the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. What unites them is the concern that international aid is not reaching the Palestinian people, and not making the intended contribution to peace in the region.
The FPCÂs activities are undertaken entirely on a voluntary basis by its members.