Terror Allegations Cloud Palestinian Aid Fund
London (CNSNews.com) - The Israeli government has complained that European aid money sent to the Palestinian Authority is being used to fund terrorism.
The E.U. currently provides about 10 percent of the PA's monthly budget of $90 million. Another $55 million is contributed by Arab nations.
A spokesman for the Israeli embassy to the E.U. in Brussels said Friday that Europe was inadvertently funding terrorism by continuing to donate money to the Palestinians.
"Indirectly, the E.U. is using its money to support terrorism," an embassy spokesman said. "Very good intentions can sometimes lead to negative consequences."
The allegations are part of accusations by the Israeli government that PA Chairman Yasser Arafat has supported terrorism by signing "terror invoices" to pay for explosives and suicide bombings.
"Arafat and his men used the funds donated to them by other countries, including the European Union, to finance terrorist activity," stated a recent Israeli report based on documents found by security services during raids in the occupied territories.
Israel also says some of the foreign aid is being used to pay salaries to activists who are then free to plot terrorist attacks. The E.U. central office in Brussels denied the claims Friday.
"We are investigating the documents and examining them seriously and carefully," a spokeswoman said. "There is no evidence that the (European) money has been used for terrorist ends."
The external aid goes through a double accounting procedure overseen by the International Monetary Fund that records both incoming and outgoing PA payments.
The E.U. spokeswoman called the process "very rigorous" and said that if the investigation turns up terrorist finance links, the E.U. would seriously reconsider its support.
"The reasons for our supplementing the Palestinian Authority is to keep it in a such a condition so that it can use its influence to stop terrorism," she said. "We would reject absolutely any use of E.U. funds for terror activities."
On Wednesday, the European Union authorized an additional payment of about $3.1 million to "victims of the conflict in the Palestinian Territories." The money comes on top of a $4.5 million payment allocated at the beginning of April.
Instead of going to the Palestinian authority, however, the additional funds will go to the Red Cross and other non-governmental organizations operating in the region.
See Earlier Story:
European Payments Prop Up Palestinian Authority (3 Apr. 2002)
E-mail a news tip to Mike Wendling.
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