European Union diplomats are warning that unless a breakthrough toward a Palestinian state emerges sometime soon, its roughly €300 million a year in aid could cease, Reuters reports.
The aid is supposed to prepare the Palestinians for a peace treaty with Israel that will give them their own state, but "if that isn't coming then I can see a number of questions," said Christian Berger, the EU's representative in Jerusalem. … A delegation from the European Parliament is visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories this week and would certainly be asking "if at the end of the day we don't have a state, then what are we doing with the money," Berger added.
Much hangs on the "proximity talks" arranged by George Mitchell: "If there's a breakthrough then I guess there's a likelihood that our support will be increased," Berger told reporters. Of note: the EU already donates more aid on a per-capita basis to the PA than to any other recipient.
PA officials are in stark denial. Asked in January about rumors that the EU might cut funding, Salam Fayyad replied, "I have no idea about this issue at all."
(1) It staggers the mind to think of a reduction in EU funding for its beloved Fatah, even at a time of fiscal crisis in Europe. I see this as an empty threat. Fayyad is right to ignore these threats.
(2) The materialist Europeans can imagine no passion so great as acquiring material goods and so have no notion how to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict except through bribes. It's not going to work, says I. (May 24, 2010)