If Støre were a wee bit smart (which of course is only a hypothetical turn of phrase) he would have spent some time contemplating the meaning of the walk to Canossa. His refusal to deal properly with the devious PA has now forced his successor Eide to have to make this long walk on his bare knees. In an election year. Like I said, it was only a hypothetical turn of phrase to suggest that Støre had any intelligence at all. He now has found out that looking good isn’t quite doing the trick in his current job as Minister of Health. Every time he opens his mouth he confirms that very often a pretty face is nothing but a facade for an empty mind…
A letter by FM Espen Barth Eide to Anders Anundsen, the leader of the Storting’s Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional affairs, this letter is dated April 9th , 2013.
THE MFA’S ECONOMIC CONTRIBUTION TO THE PA.
It is referred to a letter by the Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs, dated April 2nd and former correspondence; it also refers to my response to questions in writing over this same issue by the representative Kjell Inge Ropstad. No 1085, no 1084 and no 930 (2012-2013).
As far as we can see, the arrangements for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, as well as the developments within these arrangements, have not been an issue among donor countries before the fall of 2013. Neither was this a theme in the Norwegian side before 2011. As far as we can see in our MFA archives; Norway has not made any investigation concerning the arrangements surrounding the transfers to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons ahead of September the 5th of 2011; beyond retrieving some information from the PA related to a response to a press enquiry in May of the same year.
I discussed this issue with President Abbas and PM Fayyad in Ramallah on April the 4th of this year; in which I informed of Norway seeing aspects of this arrangement as problematic. They informed of this arrangement going far back in time; being financed through the Palestinians own funds. More than half of the PA budget is financed through taxes and fees; according to the PA this arrangement concerning support to Palestinian is independent of budget support given by donor countries. Abbas and Fayyad assured to me this would also be the case in the future. Even though it may be difficult to discern budget support from other incomes; the fact remains PA is to deliver on several targets of developmental issues on which the PA and donors have agreed. So far, the donors see the PA as delivering in these sectors. Additionally, the PA informed of the money being paid out as PX money is distributed through Israeli authorities.
Also, the PA confirmed they were about to finish their letter of reply to the Norwegian-British request over more detailed questions concerning these arrangements. I shall return to the Storting as soon as the PA has replied to these questions; however, I have no exact date for this.
Espen Barth Eide