The EU Bias That Feeds the PA’s ‘Pay for Slay’ Policy
The announcement of the donation exposes both the EU’s open bias against Israel, and its immoral support of the PA’s “Pay for Slay” policy.
Referring to the donation, Deputy EU Representative Tomas Niklasson explained, “We understand the financial crisis that the Palestinians are experiencing. … The EU has been in contact with both sides and … expressed our clear expectations that the governmental economic and financial agreements between the Israeli and Palestinian sides must continue to be fully implemented, including the Israeli obligations according to the Paris Protocol.”
When Niklasson says that the EU understands “the financial crisis that the Palestinians are experiencing,” he, in the name of the EU, is ignoring the fact that the PA “financial crisis” is actually self-imposed, because the PA is refusing to accept nearly 165 million euros a month that Israel has been transferring to the PA. This refusal is a direct result of the PA decision to prioritize paying salaries to terrorists at the expense of its law-abiding employees and the health of the Palestinians, including a seven-year-old undergoing cancer treatment in Israel.
Furthermore, it is shameful that Niklasson focuses solely on the implementation of the “Israeli obligations,” but ignores the fact that the PA is breaching its express commitments in the agreements that form the basis for the economic agreements.
Israel, according to this incomprehensible EU position, is bound to continue to provide funds to the PA, even if the PA uses those funds to financially reward the murderers of Israel’s citizens. The PA, on the other hand, is completely absolved of its obligations not to teach hate, incite or promote terror, and financially reward and glorify terror.
The baffling nature of EU policy is further demonstrated when it attempts to delude itself and the EU taxpayers into thinking that EU support for the PA will be used to pay the salaries of public employees. While technically that may be accurate, the truth is that the PA needs the EU to pay public employees only because it uses its own money for terrorist salaries.
As PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh said just days before the announcement of the additional EU donation, “Despite the financial hardships, the [PA] government will pay the salaries of the prisoners and the Martyrs’ in full, and 60 percent of the public employees’ salaries for the month of May .”
Just days prior, Shtayyeh made the PA’s warped priorities crystal clear, saying, “We promise the families of our Martyrs and our prisoners that we will remain committed to the promise. … The Martyrs, prisoners, and their families are the priority, even if we are left with only one penny.”
Since the priorities of the PA are so clear, it must be obvious to even the willfully blind EU that by relieving the PA onus to pay the salaries of even some of its public employees, the EU is directly enabling the PA to use its own resources to continue making its “Pay for Slay” payments.
As if the statements of Niklasson were not sufficient to demonstrate the EU bias against Israel, a look at EU written policy shows that the current donations breach the EU’s own 2017-2020 Joint Strategy towards a democratic and accountable Palestinian state.
In the strategy, the EU writes that certain foundational demands, such as “democratic principles” and the “holding of elections,” are “non-negotiable principles,” and that the development partners commit to “support the PA in ensuring that it increases transparency on government budget and decision making.”
Is the EU unaware that the PA, along with its decision to continue paying salaries to terrorists, suspended its financial transparency? Is the EU aware that the PA has yet to pass a 2019 budget? Is the EU ignoring the PA’s lack of financial transparency is because it was that transparency that enabled PMW to expose that the PA paid $502 million shekels to reward terrorist prisoners and released prisoners in 2018? Is the EU unaware that the PA lacks any semblance of democracy?
Looking at the total picture, the EU bias against Israel is clearly demonstrated. According to EU practice, even if the PA breaches, ignores, and flouts even the most fundamental of the EU’s “non-negotiable principles,” it will not be subject to condemnation or even criticism, and EU money will keep flowing.
Israel, by contrast, must meet all its financial obligations to the PA, even when the PA uses the money provided by Israel to pay salaries to terrorists.
The EU is making a fundamental mistake with this biased approach. Pandering to the PA obsession of rewarding terrorism does not, cannot, and will not promote peace.
Itamar Marcus, founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch, is one of the foremost authorities on Palestinian ideology and policy.
Lt. Col. (res) Maurice Hirsch is the Head of Legal Strategies for Palestinian Media Watch. He served for 19 years in the IDF Military Advocate General Corps. In his last position he served as Director of the Military Prosecution in Judea and Samaria. He tweets at @mauricehirsch4.
A version of this op-ed was originally published in Jewish News.