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PA PRESIDENT Mahmoud Abbas – ‘He makes threats and engages in fiery rhetoric as part of a strategy to appease the Palestinian public.’.(Photo by: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN)
Palestinian Authority spent NIS 7b. to fund terror - report
By MAAYAN JAFFE-HOFFMAN
11/09/2019
Palestinian Media Watch published a financial report of the Palestinian Authority based on its own financial records for the years 2011 – 2018.
The Palestinian Authority squandered at least NIS 7.5 billion between 2011 and 2018 on terror funding and non-functioning institutions, according to a new report by Palestinian Media Watch.
 
The Israeli watchdog published a financial report of the Palestinian Authority based on its own financial records for the years 2011-2018.

The report shows that the PA transferred at least NIS 7 billion to the PLO, the umbrella organization for several Palestinian groups, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Palestinian Liberation Front. PFLP and PLF have been designated terrorist organizations by the United States and the European Union.

In addition, some NIS 440 million was invested in what PMW calls “non-functioning institutions,” such as the Central Elections Committee (NIS 104,566,000) and the parliament’s legislative council (NIS 336,746,000).

As a result of the internal conflict between PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party and rival party Hamas – a designated terrorist organization by the US – the last elections for the PA Parliament were held in 2006. Hamas won 74 of the 132 PA Parliament seats, but the PA Parliament has not met since shortly after the elections.

Further, Abbas decided in December 2018 to dissolve the parliament entirely.

The figures exposed by PMW in this report are based on the annual budgets of the PA, published since 2014, and budget performance reports published by the PA since 2008.
The Palestinian Authority did not respond to requests for comment on the report.

“PMW’s research finds that the PA has systematically used US and EU money to fund organizations that donors themselves have designated as terrorist organizations,” said Maurice Hirsch, head of legal strategies at PMW. “It is obvious that donations to the PA to cover its legitimate expenses allows the PA to divert its own resources for these illegitimate purposes.”

The PA has received tens of billions of dollars of international aid since its creation, PMW pointed out in a release. Back in 2005, figures published by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) showed that the Palestinians received $304 per person in foreign aid. At the time, this was the second-highest amount per person, trailing only those living in the war-torn Congo.

In 2018, the Trump Administration significantly cut funding for the Palestinians. A report titled “US Foreign Aid to the Palestinians” prepared by the Congressional  Research Service, showed reprogramming of some $231.532 million of FY2017 bilateral economic assistance that was originally intended for the West Bank and Gaza for other purposes. In addition, the US reduced its humanitarian contributions to UNRWA, providing only $65 million in funding during FY2018, versus $359 million in FY2017.

“While international donors have demanded that the PA show financial transparency, the PLO is not subject to any financial regulation or demands of transparency,” Hirsch said. “Accordingly, it is impossible to know what happens with billions of dollars of donor money the PA has given and continues to give today to the PLO.

“If the countries that donate considerable aid to the PA do not demand that the PA explain why it squandered billions of shekels of aid – including by providing funding to non-functioning bodies and terrorist organizations – as it cries poverty and begs for aid, then the PA will continue to use and abuse the goodwill of the donor countries,” he concluded.
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