[Published 1 June 2016]
The European Union (EU) possesses the financial levers to end 10 years of exploitative rule by the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) in not holding any elections in the West Bank during that period.
95% of the West Bank Arab population live in Areas “A” and “B” under the total administrative control of the PLO. That population has been subjugated into silence by the PLO and given no opportunity to freely express their support or otherwise for the political and economic decisions taken by the PLO since 2006.
The EU in February 2015 released €130 million in direct financial support to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and a further €82 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, commented at the time:
“The EU remains committed to the two-state solution and will therefore continue to support the Palestinian Authority in its state-building efforts and in delivering basic social services.”
Hahn’s statement ignored that the PA had:
1. frustrated state-building efforts to bring about the two-state solution during the previous twelve months by refusing to resume negotiations with Israel without preconditions.The stated purpose of EU funding — introduced in 2008 - included sustaining the now-defunct PA
2. ceased to exist as a legal entity after President Abbas had disbanded it by Presidential decree on 3 January 2013.
“in its effort to pursue the fundamental values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.”
The PLO spurns these values:
1. continuing to declare international law — the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the UN Charter - null and void andYet despite another 12 months of no negotiations with Israel — the EU directly channelled another €170.5 million to the PA on 1 March 2016 and €82 million to UNRWA.
2. denying its own citizens the right to free speech and free elections.
High Representative/ Vice-President - Federica Mogherini - said:
“The European Union renews its concrete commitment to the Palestinians. Through this package, the EU supports the daily lives of Palestinians in the fields of education and health, protecting the poorest families and also providing the Palestinian refugees with access to essential services. These are tangible steps on the ground that can improve the lives of Palestinian people. But these steps are not enough; Palestinian institutions must continue to grow stronger, become more transparent, more accountable and more democratic. Viable and inclusive institutions, based on respect for the rule of law and human rights, are crucial in view of the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State. Because what we want to achieve is the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State living side by side, in peace and security, with the State of Israel and other neighbours.”
Again we hear the same pious platitudes of democracy, respect for the rule of law and human rights uttered by the EU — but ignored by the PLO.
Surely it is time for the EU to demand that President Abbas:
1. Resign his office as President — an office he clings to seven years after his four year term expired — to end growing public perceptions of corruption now held by 81% of the population and curb his escalating autocratic tendencies¬†How long is the EU going to keep shelling out large sums of money — only to see the implementation of its noble objectives being continually subverted?
2. Hold EU-supervised elections in the West Bank for the first time since 2006
3. End the radicalisation and Jew-hatred being taught in UNRWA schools beginning in Grade 1
4. Resume direct negotiations with Israel without preconditions