Photo Credit: Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90
Fatah soldier in Hebron, January 5, 2019 (archive).

The European Union is delaying the transfer of its economic aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) from which the authority pays the salaries of its civilian officials. The EU’s decision comes in response to the Hungarian government’s request not to support the PA over anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement that appears in the PA Ministry of Education’s textbooks.

In recent days, discussions have taken place at the EU headquarters in Brussels regarding the transfer of financial aid to the PA, and in a vote in the presence of a Palestinian diplomatic delegation, the decision was made to postpone aid once again.

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The European Parliament’s Committee on Budgets (BUDG) adopted Hungary’s position in April 2021 and conditioned the transfer of €214 million on the change of curriculum that includes incitement against Israel and anti-Semitic content.

The Palestinian Authority considers the EU’s conditions a dangerous step and a submission to Israeli dictates.

The delay in assistance is having an effect and is making it difficult for the PA to pay the full salaries to its officials.

The PA’s Minister of Social Development, Ahmad Majdalani said Sunday that the PA has not yet received the full economic aid from Europe, as was initially expected, and therefore there is a delay in payments.

The pressure from Western countries on the PA is not limited to its problematic curriculum in the education system. A senior PA official confirmed on Monday in a conversation with TPS that both European countries and the US are demanding personnel changes in the composition of the PA government and the establishment of a technocrat government and the decentralization of PA head Mahmoud Abbas’ powers through structural reforms.

“European countries have a full belly from the Palestinian Authority and especially since Abu Mazen [Abbas] canceled the Legislative Council elections last year, and due to a very long line of recently discovered corruption scandals,” a senior Ramallah official told TPS.

According to him, harsh visits by representatives and ambassadors from European countries to the Muqata in Ramallah, such as the visit of the Irish Foreign Minister, were not published in the Palestinian media with instructions from above.

“The United States is pressuring the Palestinian Authority, and even before President Joe Biden entered the White House, the Americans sent clear messages that they demand that the Palestinian Authority hold elections and renew the legitimacy of Abu Mazen’s rule,” the source said.

“It can now be understood from the American message that these conditions are hindering and delaying the opening of the American Consulate in eastern Jerusalem and the PLO offices in Washington,” the source added

A few months ago, TPS reported that one of the main demands made by the US was to stop paying salaries to terrorist prisoners and families of dead and injured terrorists from the Palestinian Authority budget. This was confirmed in remarks made by US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides last week with Americans for Peace Now.

At the meeting, he sharply criticized Israeli construction but also the PA’s policy of paying salaries to security prisoners and the families of terrorists killed during attacks. Nides stressed that the Biden administration still intends to reopen the US consulate in Jerusalem, but emphasized that “Israelis and Palestinians have exaggerated on this issue.”

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Baruch reports on Arab affairs for TPS.