A Palestinian worker stands atop a truck loaded with bags of cement after entering Gaza at the Kerem Shalom crossing, November 10.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The funding the EU pledged to help rebuild Gaza could directly contribute to terrorism without proper oversight on aid money, German Member of European Parliament Arne Gericke said Tuesday.
Gericke, of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, sounded the alarm at a hearing in the European Parliament on nongovernmental organizations supported by the EU that back terrorism, which was organized by European Friends of Israel.
The MEP said EU payment controls were “light years behind where they should be.”
“Proper checks and balances must be put into place. As thing stand, we cannot be sure that EU funds are not being used for terror tunnels and weapons. It would sicken most [European] taxpayers to know that the EU itself could be directly contributing to the tragic cycle of violence,” he stated.
Gericke pointed out that every US aid dollar is subject to congressional oversight and is regulated even after it is in Palestinian bank accounts, but MEPs don’t have such power and the EU does not have that control over funding.
The EU pledged €450 million to rebuilding Gaza out of a total $5.4 billion promised
by participants in the donor conference in Cairo last month.
Last week, the European Court of Auditors found that 2.6 percent of EU’s budget for “external relations, aid and enlargement” was used erroneously, meaning it could not be properly accounted for. If that percentage is applied to the €450m. pledged to Gaza, that means €11.7m. could end up in Hamas’s hands.
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“Hamas only needs a small percentage of the massive amounts of money that will be transferred to build more tunnels,” Gericke said.
“Nobody is saying that Gaza shouldn’t be rebuilt. A prosperous Gaza is an absolute necessity in any peace process.
But that doesn’t mean that EU taxpayers should be supporting terrorism.”
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