OPINION: The EU bias against Israel that feeds the PA’s ‘Pay for Slay’ policy

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OPINION: The EU bias against Israel that feeds the PA’s ‘Pay for Slay’ policy

Itamar Marcus and Maurice Hirsch of Palestinian Media Watch react to the European Union's recent 15 million Euro funding boost for the Palestinian Authority

PA leader Mahmoud Abbas
PA leader Mahmoud Abbas

The EU again in June donated 15 million Euro to the Palestinian Authority (PA). As Palestinian Media Watch has exposed, this is the second such donation.  

The announcement of the donation, exposes both the EU’s open bias against Israel and its immoral support of the PA’s “Pay for Slay” policy. 

Referring to the donation, deputy EU Representative Tomas Niklasson explained, “We understand the financial crisis that the Palestinians are experiencing … The EU has been in contact with both sides and … expressed our clear expectations that the governmental economic and financial agreements between the Israeli and Palestinian sides must continue to be fully implemented, including the Israeli obligations according to the Paris Protocol.”

When Niklasson says that the EU understands “the financial crisis that the Palestinians are experiencing” Niklasson, in the name of the EU, is ignoring the fact that the PA “financial crisis” is actually self-imposed, because the PA is refusing to accept nearly 165 million Euros a month that Israel has been transferring to the PA. This refusal is a direct result of the PA decision to prioritise paying salaries to terrorists at the expense of its law-abiding employees and the health of the Palestinians, including a 7 year-old undergoing cancer treatment in Israel. 

Furthermore, it is shameful that Niklasson focuses solely on the implementation of the “Israeli obligations,” but ignores the fact that the PA is breaching its express commitments in the agreements that form the basis for the economic agreements.

Itamar Marcus (right) is Founder and Director of Palestinian Media Watch and  Maurice Hirsch (left). is the Head of Legal Strategies for Palestinian Media Watch

Israel, according to this incomprehensible EU position, is bound to continue to provide funds to the PA, even if the PA the uses those funds to financially reward the murderers of Israel’s citizens. The PA on the other hand is completely absolved of its obligations not to teach hate, incite or promote terror, or financially reward and glorify terror. 

The baffling nature of EU policy is further demonstrated when it attempts to delude itself and the EU taxpayers, that EU support for the PA will be used to pay the salaries of public employees. While technicality that may be accurate, the truth is that the PA needs the EU to pay public employees only because it using its own money for terrorists salaries. 

As PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh said just days before the announcement of the additional EU donation, “Despite the financial hardships, the [PA] government will pay the salaries of the prisoners and the Martyrs’ in full, and 60% of the public employees’ salaries for the month of May [2019]”

Just days prior, Shtayyeh, made the PA’s warped priorities crystal clear saying, “We promise the families of our Martyrs and our prisoners that we will remain committed to the promise… The Martyrs, prisoners, and their families are the priority, even if we are left with only one penny.” 

Since the priorities of the PA are so clear, it must be obvious to even the wilfully blind EU, that by relieving the PA onus to pay the salaries of even some of its public employees, the EU is directly enabling the PA to use its own resources to continue making its “Pay for Slay” payments.   

As if the statements of Niklasson were not sufficient to demonstrate the EU bias against Israel, a look at EU written policy shows that the current donations breach the EU’s own 2017 – 2020 Joint Strategy towards a democratic and accountable Palestinian State.

The strategy the EU writes that certain foundation stones, such as “democratic principles” and the “holding of elections,” are “non-negotiable principles” and that the development partners commit to “support the PA in ensuring that it increases transparency on government budget and decision making.”

Is the EU unaware that the PA, along with its decision to continue paying salaries to terrorists, suspended its financial transparency? Is the EU aware that the PA has yet to pass a 2019 budget? Is the EU ignoring the PA’s lack of financial transparency is because it was that transparency that enabled PMW to expose that the PA paid 502 million shekels as  to reward terrorist prisoners and released prisoners in 2018? Is the EU unaware that the PA lacks any semblance of democracy?

Looking at the total picture the EU bias against Israel is clearly demonstrated. 

According to EU practice, even if the PA breaches, ignores and flouts even the most fundamental of the EU’s “non-negotiable principles”, it will not be subject to condemnation or even criticism, and EU money will keep flowing. 

Israel, by contrast, must meet all its financial obligations to the PA, even when the PA uses the money provided by Israel to pay salaries to terrorists. 

The EU is making a fundamental mistake with this biased approach. Pandering to the PA obsession of rewarding terrorism does not, cannot and will not promote peace.

  • Itamar Marcus, founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch, is one of the foremost authorities on Palestinian ideology and policy. 
  • Lt. Col. (res) Maurice Hirsch is the Head of Legal Strategies for Palestinian Media Watch. He served for 19 years in the IDF Military Advocate General Corps. In his last position he served as Director of the Military Prosecution in Judea and Samaria. Tweets at @mauricehirsch4.
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