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December 26, 2002

B'nai Brith charges EU ignores Palestinian channel of aid to terrorists

HERB KEINON reported in The Jerusalem Post thatThe B'nai Brith World Center in Jerusalem released a 23-page report Wednesday that claims the EU has deliberately turned a blind eye to the alleged misuse of donated funds by the Palestinian Authority.

The report, based on previously published material, documents allegations of PA corruption and the diversion of donor funds to pay for terrorism. It is entitled "The Palestinian Authority: Where Does the Money Go?" was written by Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, director of the New York-based Center for the Study of Corruption and the Rule of Law.

The report is being used by B'nai Brith Europe to lobby the European Parliament to support the establishment of an official inquiry by the European Commission into the use of EU money to fund terrorism. A minimum of 157 signatures out of the 626-member parliament are needed to establish such and inquiry. So far, some 130 parliamentarians have signed the request.

According to the report, "despite EU attempts to refute and downplay allegations, the EU aid money was used to fund terrorism". PA documents found by the IDF clearly show that the PA diverted international aid to fund its terrorist activities.

"Since we already know that the EU did not closely monitor the use of the money, if even a single dollar went to finance terror, the donor countries are guilty of aiding terrorism."

An EU official Wednesday denied the allegations in the report, saying "they have been made repeatedly in the past, and each time found to be untrue."

According to the report, the PA uses various illicit methods to skim money from donated funds and promote terrorism.

The methods include:

need $60 million per month for salaries, when in fact only some $40.5 million is needed.

Using an exchange rate of NIS 7 to the dollar, when the rate was much higher. The difference, according to the report, was pocketed by the PA.

Deducting a mandatory Fatah membership fee of 1.5-2% of salaries paid to all PA security personnel.

Paying the salaries of Fatah terrorists

EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Chris Patten, in response to a question by a European parliamentarian about the allegations of misuse of he funds, said he wanted an inquiry into the matter like "a hole in the head."

Patten argued that such a probe would undermine moderates inside the PA and ruin any chance of halting the violence.

"An inquiry would make it enormously difficult to continue providing aid," Patten told a meeting of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee last month. "We have insisted on reform since we began the administrative assistance in 2001.

"If we sunder relations with the Palestinian Authority, it will be very difficult to claim that the EU is playing any kind of role in the Middle East region."