Despite European irritation at Israel at its refusal to accept their meddlesome guidelines on settlements, Europe is equally unhappy at funding the Palestinians since they discovered that most PA civil workers are not in fact working (besides the fact that huge amounts of aid money has disappeared).
From the second link:
Beneath the polished diplomatic rhetoric, officials are wondering rather loudly why Europe must continue bankrolling an endless, decades-old conflict while other, more burning crises are unfolding one after the other in the Arab Middle East. The vision of a two-state solution — the original reason for the funding — is drifting ever further away, they note.
The most striking example of this attitude emerged in Brussels Wednesday, when the European Court of Auditors presented its assessment of the EU’s direct financial support to the Palestinian Authority. The 70-page report was a scathing critique of an increasingly dysfunctional, over-sized Palestinian Authority.
Sure, Israel is greatly to blame for the Palestinian economic stagnation, the report notes, but why should thousands of PA civil servants in Gaza receive EU-funded salaries while sitting at home, as their leadership pretends the rift with Hamas will end any day?
The numbers involved in the EU funding of the Palestinians are quite staggering:
While denying earlier media leaks saying €2 billion in European aid to the Palestinian Authority has been squandered through corruption, the European Court of Auditors called the current funding of some 70,000 PA civil servants, including a majority who remain on EU payrolls without working, “unsustainable.” The group is an official institution within the EU.
The EU has invested a total of €5.6 billion in the PA since its establishment in 1994 with the stated objective of “helping bring about a two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
One example cited in the report is a value-added tax refund of nearly €2.6 million given by the EU to a luxury hotel built in Gaza, above and beyond the average support for private Palestinian companies supporting public services.
“At the time of the audit visit in October 2012 the hotel was barely operating,” the report read.
One’s astonishment at reading these astronomical figures should be read in stark contrast to the dreadfully dire situation of the millions of Syrian refugees now flooding into Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. The Washington Post has a fascinating and eye-opening report on the refugee situation with several profiles of typical refugees in various locations (h/t Honest Reporting). Here are the figures, but read the entire report which is very well done:
The United Nations, in the biggest appeal of its history, has asked for nearly $5 billion – about $3 billion for refugees and $2 billion for humanitarian aid inside Syria. About 62 percent of that has been raised. The U.S. government has provided about $1.4 billion in humanitarian aid.
Private groups said fundraising has been difficult. Save the Children has raised $1.6 million in private donations for Syrian refugees over the past three years. In the first two weeks after the recent Philippines typhoon, the group raised $6 million. After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, it raised more than $26 million in six months.
“Unlike a sudden natural disaster, which elicits sympathy, this is a complicated and protracted crisis, so it’s difficult to capture and sustain public attention,” said Michael Klosson, a Save the Children executive. “There’s no clear sense of who the ‘good guys’ are. It seems like yet another conflict in the Middle East and is easy to ignore.”
Relief officials are worried because the crisis is getting worse.
The United Nations says 6.5 million Syrians have been forced out of their homes and have taken shelter inside Syria, often with relatives in rural villages. Nearly 3 million more are in need of food, medicine and other assistance. That’s about 9.3 million people – closing in on half of Syria’s 22 million pre-war population – who are already vulnerable or homeless.
Compare those numbers – very real and current numbers representing so many shattered lives – to the hugely inflated numbers of Palestinians “refugees” whose original number of 400-700,000 have now swelled to anything between 4-5 million through a unique hereditary status awarded only to the Palestinians. These numbers include perfectly normative citizens of other countries who have been absorbed and resettled and can in no way be considered “refugees”.
Those numbers, however inflated, are dwarfed by the staggering number of Syrian civilian refugees fleeing a dangerous and volatile situation at home, and in desperate need of the most basic aid just to survive.
And now imagine if all that EU aid to the Palestinians, who obviously don’t need it all, were to be rerouted to these much more deserving Middle East refugees. It would solve two problems simultaneously – provide desperately needed aid to the Syrian refugees and force the Palestinians to stop their corruption and self-imposed victimhood and start looking out for themselves for the first time in over 65 years.