web analytics
April 1, 2015 / 12 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


After EU Audit, Corruption Could Become an Expensive Problem for Ramallah

Palestinian Authority unity government chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Quiet negotiations with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu?

Palestinian Authority unity government chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Quiet negotiations with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu?
Photo Credit: Ahmad Khateib / Flash 90

(JTA) — When Israeli police found thousands of contraband cell phones in the car of senior Palestinian Authority (PA) official Rawhi Fattouh, he was promptly removed from office — for about two months.

A consultant to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Fattouh was reinstated in May 2008 after his driver, a state employee, confessed to the smuggling, which Israeli border police discovered when searching Fattouh’s car at a border crossing between Jordan and the West Bank.

The scandal drew international media attention, but by 2011, the case had been closed. PA prosecutor Ahmed al-Moghani said his office had no information implicating Fattouh.

Still, critics say, the scandal and others like it are part of a lingering corruption problem that has plagued the Palestinian Authority since it was formed under Yasser Arafat following the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords.

Long ignored internationally in favor of more urgent business, the problem is now prompting an unprecedented degree of scrutiny from the European Union, the largest donor to the Palestinian Authority. Since 1994, $7.7 billion in EU funds have been transferred to Ramallah.

In December, the European Court of Auditors reported that the Palestinian Authority had been using European money for years to pay Gaza workers, some of whom had not actually worked in seven years. PA Labor Minister Ahmed Majdalani defended the payments, saying the employees had families to support and couldn’t just be cut off, but the European Parliament took a less sanguine view.

Last month, it adopted a nonbinding resolution saying that payroll problems raise concerns about money laundering and terrorist financing.

It noted the Palestinian Authority’s controversial salary payments to the families of terrorists serving time in Israeli jails. In an unprecedented move, the parliament also called for future EU funding to be conditioned on Palestinian compliance with reform recommendations.

“Until now, EU aid was unconditional,” said Guy Bechor, an Israeli expert on the Arab world and a former lecturer at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. “Now, for the first time, we are seeing serious moves for conditionality and transparency.”

Some analysts connect Europe’s sudden vigilance to anger over the recent collapse of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The EU’s ambassador to Israel, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, warned in January there would be “a price to pay” by both sides if the talks failed.

Others trace it to frustration over Ramallah’s spending habits and a general donor fatigue in Europe, where high unemployment rates and sluggish economic growth have led to belt-tightening across the continent.

“How can the European Union preserve its credibility back home when it pays salaries to people who don’t work, while millions of European citizens are unemployed?” Michael Theurer, chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control, wrote in The Wall Street Journal on April 9.

In his op-ed, Theurer linked the Palestinian Authority’s accountability problems to success of Hamas, the governing power in Gaza regarded as a terrorist group by the United States and Europe.

“The more the Palestinian Authority is perceived as corrupt by the Palestinian people, the greater their support will be for Hamas,” he wrote. “Thus, to promote peace and stability, Brussels must help the Palestinian Authority build strong and transparent institutions.” The reference to Hamas touches on yet another potential complication for EU funding. Last month, Hamas signed a reconciliation agreement with the Fatah movement of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

An EU-funded Palestinian Authority government with Hamas aboard “would not only mean EU funds for terrorists but would conflict with the two-state solution, which is the very declared goal of the funding in the first place,” said Arie Zuckerman of the European Jewish Congress.

About the Author: Cnaan Liphshiz is JTA's news and features correspondent in Europe. Based in the Netherlands, he covers the mosaic of cultures, languages and traditions that is European Jewry. Born in Israel, he used to work as foreign news editor for Ma'ariv and as a reporter for Haaretz.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “After EU Audit, Corruption Could Become an Expensive Problem for Ramallah”

  1. Guy Peters says:

    Have EUrotrash finally begun to concerned about their €€€s ? Or just who & what they are funding ?

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Obama Stops Punishing Egypt for Dumping Muslim Brotherhood Prez
Latest News Stories
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Obama finally stops punishing Egypt for overthrowing the Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi

Hezbollah  terror group shows off its arsenal in Lebanon.

The IDF will have hard choices to make in the next war with Hezbollah.

Chaim Topol as Tevye the Milkman

Chaim Topol, has been awarded the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement.

20th Knesset Opening Session

The Knesset opening session was buzzing with new faces, as 39 new Members of Knesset joined their veteran colleagues in the swearing in ceremony.

The Temple Institute renacted the entire Pesach sacrifice ceremony.

“On days like today we want these children to feel the joy that any normal child experiences on their bar mitzvah.”

A family. 7 Children. An indescribable tragedy. How do they go on? How do we react? And what lessons are we supposed to learn?

More than 40 refugees were killed in a Saudi-led air strike while PA office accuses Israel crime by building homes.

The military implicitly admits to having improperly allowed a missionary group to indoctrinate soldiers.

Talks are likely to extend beyond Obama’s self-imposed deadline that he had said he won’t change.

The Iranian regime is hard up for propaganda, but maybe it is prophesying the future.

The Arabs rolled burning tires and three rocks at soldiers at the central Gaza security fence.

The Histadrut national labor union and the Federation of Israeli Employers have agreed to raise the minimum wage to 5,300 shekels ($1,334) by 2017, approximately half the average salary in Israel. The employers and the union previously agreed to a three-stage hike in the minimum wage. The latest agreement adds a fourth stage whole pegging […]

The clowns are back in town while ringmaster Netanyahu tries to tame the beasts.

A Reuters poll shows that America is increasingly polarized, especially about President Obama.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu continued to lash out at a possible “bad deal” with Iran Monday and said, “The agreement being formulated in Lausanne sends a message that there is no price for aggression and on the contrary – that Iran’s aggression is to be rewarded.” Netanyahu said in a statement: The moderate and responsible […]

More Articles from Cnaan Liphshiz / JTA
Rabbi Yosef Mendelevitch at St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport, Nov. 30.

But Mendelevitch had another objective in returning to a place he says “brings back no good memories.”

More than 1,550 individuals have immigrated to Israel from Ukraine in the first five months of 2014 alone, more than double the 693 who arrived in the corresponding period last year.

The volunteers have created hundreds of posts and articles on Israel, which they disseminate through the Holland4Israel Facebook group and on Twitter, among other social media.

“In Odessa, there was more calm than in other places,” she said. “But now I cannot think of a single person here who isn’t worried.”

The EU parliament called for future EU funding to be conditioned on Palestinian compliance with reform recommendations.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/after-eu-audit-corruption-could-become-an-expensive-problem-for-ramallah/2014/05/08/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: