Norway Foreign Minister in Israel Expresses Anger Over PA Use of Aid to Pay Terrorists
Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide expressed anger at the Palestinian Authority during his visit to Israel on Wednesday, following the discovery that the PA was using Norwegian and British aid money to pay the salaries of convicted Palestinian terrorists serving time in Israeli jails, Israel Hayom reported.
Eide was in Israel on Wednesday for a one-day trip to Jerusalem to meet with Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as International Relations Minister Yuval Steinitz and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who will head the Israel negotiating team with Palestinians if peace talks are restarted.
Last month, the Norwegian Parliamentary Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs decided to probe the Norwegian Foreign Ministry after Israel-based media watchdog Palestinian Media Watch revealed that the PA might have been lying to Norway about how the country’s extensive financial aid was being used.
The Norwegian Foreign Ministry under then Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr StÃ¸re had denied that its money was being used to fund terrorists. Eide, who became foreign minister last September, told the Norwegian parliament’s investigative committee that the PA had told Norway its funds were “used to cover canteen expenses” for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
Eide said his ministry had received “new information” that conflicted with the PA’s claim that Norwegian funds were not being used to pay convicted terrorists’ salaries, and that the PA may have been misleading Norway.
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad recently told Eide recently that part of the funds were meant as social welfare payments to families whose principal provider was sitting in jail, denying that the funds were used to pay convicted terrorists’ salaries.
Eide told Fayyad that Norway found the funding of prisoners convicted of terrorism, along with the prospect that the PA may have misled Norway, to be “problematic.”