14 October 2013 – Brussels – The AJC Transatlantic Institute called on the European Union to make public a report said to document corruption and misuse of aid in the Palestinian territories, and launch a full investigation into the alleged financial abuse.
An article in The Sunday Times (13 October) cites an unpublished report by the European Court of Auditors detailing how EU aid to the Palestinians has been “misspent, squandered or lost to corruption.” According to the article, the report shows that “Brussels transferred more than £1.95bn to the occupied territories between 2008 and 2012 but had little control over how it was spent.”
“Allegations of corruption and mismanagement within the Palestinian territories are very troubling, but regrettably not surprising,” said Daniel Schwammenthal, Director of the AJC Transatlantic Institute in Brussels.
In December 2012, British MEP Syed Kamall submitted a Parliamentary Question to the European Commission regarding Palestinian aid money going to convicted terrorists in prison, following revelations in Norway that such financial abuses were occurring with funds provided to the Palestinian Authority.
In February 2013, EU High Representative Baroness Catherine Ashton responded: “A strict and extensive mechanism of audit and verification is in place which allows the European Union to verify the precise destination of every single Euro.”
“As the primary donor to the Palestinians, the EU has an obligation to both the Palestinian people and its own taxpayers to ensure aid is serving its intended purpose. The report should be made public immediately so that the full extent of the problem can be known,” noted Schwammenthal.
“Given the severity and magnitude of these allegations, the EU must launch a full investigation into corruption and misuse and, depending on the findings, finally implement effective safeguards. Those responsible for allowing these financial abuses to continue must be held accountable.”
In March 2013, TAI issued a press release calling on the EU to investigate how its aid was being spent following allegations by a Norwegian state television report that payments were being made to convicted terrorists in Israeli prisons.