The EU is giving the PA millions in aid, despite its notorious corruption and its misuse of foreign aid to fund terrorism.
The European Commission approved on Tuesday a €252.5 million ($470 M.) assistance package supporting the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the so-called Palestinian refugees.
It is the first part of the EU’s 2016 annual support package in favor of the PA.
“The European Union renews its concrete commitment to the Palestinians,” High Representative Federica Mogherini stated after the decision.
“Through this package, the EU supports the daily lives of Palestinians in the fields of education and health, protecting the poorest families and also providing the Palestinian refugees with access to essential services,” she claimed.
“These are tangible steps on the ground that can improve the lives of Palestinian people. But these steps are not enough; Palestinian institutions must continue to grow stronger, become more transparent, more accountable and more democratic,” she said, possibly alluding to the PA’s notorious corruption and its suspected embezzlement of millions in foreign aid.
“Viable and inclusive institutions, based on respect for the rule of law and human rights, are crucial in view of the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State. Because what we want to achieve is the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State living side by side, in peace and security, with the State of Israel and other neighbours,” she said.
Human rights organizations have repeatedly cited the PA for its abysmal track record in respecting human rights, the freedom of press and democracy.
Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn underscored the EU’s “firm” commitment to the Palestinians and its “active support” of the two-state solution.
He thanked all EU Member States for their continued backing of EU programs “for this troubled region.”
Within the approved package, $184 million will be channeled directly to the PA, earmarked for health and education services.
In a recent development, European lawmakers have begun to demand accountability by the PA for the funds it receives, out of the fear they are being misused or even used to fund terrorism.
The remaining $89 million will be a contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in the Near East (UNRWA), which provides exclusive services for Palestinians.
A second package of measures in favor of the Palestinians will be announced later in the year, the EU said.