Absolutely not in Norwegian news: EU ordered to cancel payments to Gaza phantom workers

lifted from timesofisrael.com

Cant imagine why this isn’t on the front pages of major Norwegian newspapers?

EU auditors: Stop funding PA employees in Gaza

European institution calls for a comprehensive overhaul of aid to the PA, diverting money from Gaza to the West Bank

BY ELHANAN MILLER December 11, 2013, 10:43 pm 3
Catherine Ashton, High EU representative for foreign affairs, meets PA President Mahmoud Abbas in New York, September 2013 (photo credit: European Union)

Catherine Ashton, High EU representative for foreign affairs, meets PA President Mahmoud Abbas in New York, September 2013 (photo credit: European Union)

A European body called on Wednesday for the suspension of aid money to Palestinian civil servants in the Gaza Strip, recommending the funds be reallocated to the West Bank as part of a comprehensive overhaul of EU funding to the Palestinian Authority.

While denying earlier media leaks saying €2 billion in European aid to the Palestinian Authority has been squandered through corruption, the European Court of Auditors called the current funding of some 70,000 PA civil servants, including a majority who remain on EU payrolls without working, “unsustainable.” The group is an official institution within the EU.

“Although some important results have been achieved, there is a need for major revisions, such as encouraging the PA to undertake more reforms, notably in relation to its civil service,” Hans Gustaf Wessberg, head of the auditors’ team, said at a press conference in Brussels.

The EU funneled some €1 billion to the PA between 2008 and 2012 as part of scheme called Pegase — money earmarked for institution building as well as employee and pensioner salaries, and accounting for 20 percent of the total PA salary expenditure.

The EU has invested a total of €5.6 billion in the PA since its establishment in 1994 with the stated objective of “helping bring about a two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

But since Hamas’s violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007, thousands of PA civil servants have been put out of work, replaced by Hamas cronies. Nevertheless, the salaries of the PA employees have been paid by the EU continuously. On Wednesday, the Court of Auditors said that must stop.

“When people who do not work are being paid, this goes against the agreement with Pegase,” Wessberg said. “The resources spent there [in Gaza] are better spent elsewhere,” he added, saying that all EU funds should be allocated to the West Bank.

Wessberg could not say how many unemployed civil servants are currently receiving salaries from the EU nor how much money is being spent on them. He noted, however, that a random spot-check carried out by his team in Gaza in October 2012 found that four out of 10 employees questioned were out of work. A similar examination by PA auditors revealed that out of 125 salaried individuals, 90 were not actually working.

While European funds were effectively and transparently reaching their destination, the EU Commission and External Action Service have failed to create a mechanism of checks and balances to ensure the efficacy of money invested in firms and individuals, the auditors said. No system of accountability existed to examine the performance of recipients or leverage the aid to pressure the PA into executing badly-needed reforms.

“Pegase direct financial support is provided to the PA without conditionality. The only basic requirement for the distribution of funds is that the individual beneficiaries meet the eligibility criteria set by the EU,” the report read.

One example cited in the report is a value-added tax refund of nearly €2.6 million given by the EU to a luxury hotel built in Gaza, above and beyond the average support for private Palestinian companies supporting public services.

“At the time of the audit visit in October 2012 the hotel was barely operating,” the report read.

Israel, too, was held accountable by the ECA report for undermining the financial sustainability of the Palestinian Authority and contributing to its significant fiscal deterioration in 2012.

“Both the financial sustainability of the PA and the economic development of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which is essential for financial sustainability continue to be fundamentally undermined by a series of constraints imposed by the Government of Israel,” the report read.

Laila Sbeih, the Palestinian finance ministry official tasked with coordination with the EU, would not comment on the ECA report as she was not permitted to speak to the media. The office of PA government spokesman Ihab Bseiso would say only that the report did not represent official EU policy, and that there was “no logic” in commenting on it as long as it remained a mere recommendation.

Last week, the head of the EU delegation to the Palestinian Authority, John Gatt-Rutter, said that Europe would continue to pay PA salaries through 2014.

“Today’s contribution to salaries and pensions is further evidence of our unimpeded support for the Palestinian people which will continue in 2014,” he said in a statement upon the transfer of €10 million for November’s salaries and pensions.

4 comments for “Absolutely not in Norwegian news: EU ordered to cancel payments to Gaza phantom workers

  1. martin
    December 12, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    I was unable to stop laughing when I was reading this report. This whole “act” is a huge joke. Missing $billions since the late 1980’s has gone unrecorded and unrecognised., monies sent to the PLO/PA. they are even questioning the term corruption. What, is there corruption in the Arab world? Heaven forbid.

    What I find really hilarious is the fact that the European Court of Auditors have not been satisfied with the missing €billions within the bloated EU. The EU accounts have not been signed off now for over 18 years.. This court has the audacity to question the “honesty” of the bunch of greedy, unscrupulous thugs within the Arab world, a sub section of the Arab world that has chosen to call itself Palestinian at the behest of Arafat in 1964. The very term Palestine is colonial, signifying the fact that it is the Arabs that have chosen to colonise this land, only after the Jews began to return.

    Just what were the unexpected Israeli constraints? Israel bends the knees continually in endangering the lives of its citizens to please the EU and the USA. Lack of recognition of the sacrifices that Israel makes to the bunch of Jew hating murderers in the PA, by the bunch of Jew hating European nations is obvious.

    Have a happy and enjoy the crazy world that we live in today, as we have since time immemorial

  2. de Bacle
    December 14, 2013 at 2:46 am

    MOst of the EU press release is “foggy”
    http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_ECA-13-44_en.htm
    and even trying to put blame on ISrael ( I presume just to try to soften the critique)

    But one point where it is quite explicit (and succint):

    …a considerable number of civil servants in Gaza, due to the political situation, were being paid without going to work and providing a public service.

    It can’t be put more bluntly than that.

    Also interesting to see the explicit ECA reccomendation (we also will not see in Norwegian news, and it can’t make cosy reading for the rulers in Gaza either):

    [….] the EEAS and Commission in conjunction with the broader donor community, should further engage with Israel WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF BROADER EU-ISRAEL COOPERATION […]

    Ouch, pundits in NRK, Dagbladet, NTB, NTNU, PRIO…, Ouch.

  3. de Bacle
    December 14, 2013 at 2:50 am

    Most of the EU press release refrains from being explicit
    http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_ECA-13-44_en.htm
    and, presumably, to try to soften the blow, also point a finger at ISraels responsibility.

    But one point is quite explicit (and succint):

    …a considerable number of civil servants in Gaza, due to the political situation, were being paid without going to work and providing a public service.

    It can’t be put more bluntly than that.

    Also interesting to see the explicit ECA reccomendation (we also will not see in Norwegian news, and it can’t make cosy reading for the rulers in Gaza either):

    [….] the EEAS and Commission in conjunction with the broader donor community, should further engage with Israel WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF BROADER EU-ISRAEL COOPERATION […]

    Ouch, pundits in NRK, Dagbladet, NTB, NTNU, PRIO…, Ouch.

  4. martin
    December 27, 2013 at 8:10 am

    What a lovely photo of two Jew hating morons, plotting how best to destroy the state of Israel.

    Have a happy ,,,,,, thoughts of these two will one day obtain their just desserts.

Comments are closed.