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European taxpayers contribute to PA's financial corruption

June 6, 2015 at 1:12 pm

The Gaza Strip has been suffering worsening crises because of the nine-year long blockade, as well as the three Israeli wars that caused vast destruction to the enclave’s infrastructure, life and economy.

In July 2014, the Palestinians formed a unity government; it was a remarkable step to end the split in the national movement. However, the government has not exercised power in the Gaza Strip so far, which raises questions about its role and that of the Palestinian Authority (PA) towards the suffocating blockade and financial hardship the Gaza Strip currently experiences.

The PA says it allocates 47% of its budget to the Gaza Strip. Yet, specialised financial institutions refute such claims, pointing out that donors are contributing to the Palestinian split through their fund.

In 2014 alone, the PA received $1.2 billion in aid from international donors including Europe. Out of this, $201 million had been allocated for development projects and $1.021 billion for the PA budget.

According to Gaza, its share of the PA budget prior to the Palestinian split in 2007 should have been $480 million of 2014 PA budget – $40 million per month. Unfortunately, Gaza got none of that.

Most seriously, financial aid from European countries contributes to the PA corruption and bolsters the nine-year-long Palestinian split.

They pay for the salaries of 62,000 employees from Gaza although they do not work. When Hamas formed the government in 2007, PA President Mahmoud Abbas ordered all PA employees to leave their work places and stay home.

Consequently, European taxpayers pay the PA $53.7 million a month but this money is not channeled in the right way, which is development and helping Palestinians resist the repercussions of the Israeli occupation. Instead, it increases the burden of the Israeli siege.

Israel waged three wars on the Gaza Strip, the last of which was in the summer of 2014, and has been imposing a suffocating blockade on the Gaza Strip since 2006.

This requires the international community to pay more attention to the Gaza Strip. However, frequent pledges to support the budget allocated for the enclave has not occurred, according to the PA Ministry of Finance.

Gaza enters the tenth year of the Israeli suffocating siege where more than 100 thousand citizens are still homeless and living in shelters, caravans, tents and rented houses.

Nowadays, public workers in Gaza do not get paid, hospitals have no drugs, life has no hope and youths are depressed.

Gaza, which has been struggling with a horrible situation following the 2014 Israeli offensive, is calling upon the human conscience and the international community to alleviate its dilemma; otherwise, an inevitable explosion will be widespread.

Amid the absence of Palestinian governing institutions such as the Palestinian Legislative Council that was deactivated since Hamas won the elections in 2006, international bodies have continued to turn a blind eye to control over PA spending mechanisms in light of the excessive funds allocated to the PA security services in the West Bank. This means that 40% of the PA budget is utilized to preserve the security of Israel.

Moreover, international human rights institutions have frequently revealed that the PA security services are involved in massive human rights abuses against Palestinian political prisoners, resulting in a situation where agents are receiving primary financial support paid by European taxpayers.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.