EU to finally investigate whether it’s funding Palestinian suicide attacks

February 13, 2003

CONTENTS

1. 170 Members of the European Parliament call for an enquiry
2. "The best way to mark the 'Day of Remembrance' would be to never abandon Israel"
3. "The Jewish war: Francois Zimeray's campaign for an investigation into EU aid to the PA has been crowned with success"
4. "EU probes evidence its aid to Palestinians funded terrorism" (World Tribune, Feb. 7, 2003)
5. "EU Parliament moves closer to push for special inquest into how EU funds used by Palestinians"
6. "Arafat knew: [European and Arab] Charity money forwarded to terror infrastructure" (IDF Website, Jan. 23, 2003)
7. "Remember why Israel was created" (By Piero Ostellino, Corriere della Sera, Feb. 7, 2003)


170 MEPS CALL FOR AN ENQUIRY

[Note by Tom Gross]

This is a follow-up to the three dispatches I sent last year on the accusations and widespread evidence much coming from Palestinian officials themselves that European tax-payer's money, donated weekly to the Palestinian Authority, is being used to fund suicide and other terror attacks on Israeli civilians.

I attach three articles (with a summary first) concerning last week's decision by the European Parliament to investigate these claims, after consistent attempts to block any such enquiry by the leading pro-Palestinian politicians in Europe such as European Commission External Relations Minister Christopher Patten (who is also a former British government cabinet minister and presently one of the candidates to be the next Chancellor of Oxford University).

1. "The Jewish war: Francois Zimeray's campaign for an investigation into European Union aid to the Palestinian Authority has been crowned with success." This is a news report from "Globes," Israel's daily business newspaper, February 6, 2003. 170 members of the European Parliament have now demanded an enquiry, over-ruling their pro-Arafat leaders such as Chris Patten. The tide turned when on January 25, the three MEPs behind the campaign for an investigation, Francois Zimeray (Socialist Party, France), Ilka Schroeder (Green Party, Germany) and Willy de Clercq (Liberal Party, Belgium), won support from an unexpected quarter, French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin.

2. "EU probes evidence its aid to Palestinians funded terrorism" (World Tribune, February 7, 2003). The European media tends to be far more anti-Israel than many ordinary European people, so this story about Arafat using European aid money to help pay for suicide attacks has not been covered widely in the European press. Attached below instead is a story on the matter from World Tribune.

“THE BEST WAY TO MARK THE ‘DAY OF REMEMBRANCE’ WOULD BE TO NEVER ABANDON ISRAEL”

3. "EU Parliament moves closer to push for special inquest into how EU funds used by Palestinians" (January 30, 2003). This is another story from a non-European source Yahoo news.com. "Since there can be no investigations expected neither from Mr. Patten nor from the rather shortsighted Commission President Mr. Prodi, the parliament will have to take action," said German green member, Ilka Schroeder.

4. "Arafat knew: [European and Arab] Charity money forwarded to terror infrastructure" (IDF Website, January 23, 2003).

5. "Remember why Israel was created" (By Piero Ostellino, Corriere della Sera, February 7, 2003). This is a sympathetic piece for Israel, originally published in late January on Holocaust Memorial Day in "Corriere della Sera," one of Italy's leading newspapers. "It seems to me," writes the author, "that the best way to mark the 'Day of Remembrance' would be to never abandon Israel to those who desire its destruction. I think this would mean avoiding distinctions between the Jews and Israel, between Israelis and their governments. Israel represents the Jews who are no longer willing to let themselves be killed by totalitarian regimes, religious fundamentalism and racism ... Challenging the right of the Jewish people to exist and have a nation would amount to a political and moral regression in the name of a misguided peace effort."

-- Tom Gross


FULL ARTICLES

THE JEWISH WAR

The Jewish war: Francois Zimeray's campaign for an investigation into European Union aid to the Palestinian Authority has been crowned with success
By Tami Zilberg
Globes (Israel's daily business newspaper)
February 6, 2003

www.globes.co.il

Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Francois Zimeray has released a dramatic announcement to the press. He announced that he had presented to the office of the European Parliament (EP) president a demand for the formation of a committee to investigate the misuse of European Union aid to the Palestinian Authority, signed by over 170 EMPs.

Under European law, such a demand requires the signatures of 157 EMPs, or 25% of the 626-member EP. The number of signatures is a sign of the petition initiators' success in pro-Arab Europe. For months MEPs Zimeray (France), Ilka Schroeder (Germany), Willy de Clercq (Belgium), and other EP members representing different countries and parties, strove to convince their colleagues that their demand for an investigative committee was essential.

They had to face the direct opposition of Commissioner in charge of European Commission External Relations Christopher Patten, who did not always observe the rules of the game. Last December Patten stated directly, "I need Zimeray's investigative committee like a hole in the head."

Zimeray, 42, a Jewish lawyer from Paris and a French Socialist, is an unusual figure on the European Socialist left, for whom Israel-bashing has sometime appeared to be a supreme obsession. Zimeray, who maintains a large, prosperous law firm in Paris, divides his time between Paris; Rouen, his EP constituency; and the EP locations in Brussels and Strasbourg. Among other things, Zimeray is vice-chairman of the European Parliament delegation for relations with Israel, a member of the EP foreign affairs and defense committee, president of the Conseil de la Communaute de l'Agglomeration Rouennaise in Normandy, and is responsible for a number of initiatives, of which the investigation into EU aid to the PA is only one.

The main factor that persuaded many EP members to sign the investigation petition was the fact that the PA used some of the EU money to compensate the families of suicide bombers. "I don't oppose EU aid to the PA. On the contrary; I would even be willing to increase it, provided that the money reaches the people, is used for Palestinian economic development and education, and promotes reconciliation between the two peoples," Zimeray's press release said.

At this stage, the success in gathering signatures on the petition only guarantees that the issue will be raised. No one will be surprised if the investigating committee never actually comes into being, given the intensive activity of the strong pro-Arab lobby in Europe. This, however, does not deter Zimeray, who uses every available means to promote Israel's interests in Europe. For example, Zimeray reacts angrily when the idea of a business and academic boycott of Israel is regularly raised in Europe. "In Europe, a boycott is considered a criminal offense," he stresses. "I won't tolerate a company, or any other entity, calling for a boycott against Israel."

On January 25, Zimeray won support in an unexpected quarter, when French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin threatened to imprison anyone calling for a boycott of Israeli products. Raffarin issued his threat during the traditional banquet of the roof organization of French Jewry CRIF (Conseil Representatif des Institutions Juives de France). During the same banquet, CRIF president M. Roger Cukierman said, "Anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism," which angered the representative of Les Verts (the French Green Party), and led him to leave the hall.

Zimeray was also present at the banquet. He admitted that Cukiermans' remark was not accepted diplomatic behavior, but nevertheless added that the statement "was very clear, which is a good thing." He also said, "The anti-boycott law in Europe is not new, but we must now enforce it more aggressively."

In Zimeray's eyes, Europe is Israel's most important partner, "and Europe is not a lost cause for Israelis. Europeans understand the Israelis better than their governments do. This is also true of France, which is the Western country with the strongest Muslim influence. People sometimes show more wisdom than their politicians. The people understand terrorism. They certain understand the suffering of the Palestinians, but they also understand the Israeli side, and don't agree with their leaders' demonstrations of weakness."

Zimeray attributes the slowdown in trade between Israel and European countries affecting both imports and exports to the global economic situation, not anti-Semitism. "When the global recession ends, business between Israel and Europe will pick up, and the trade figures will improve," he says. "It should be reiterated that Israel is an important partner for Europe, and Europe is of critical importance for Israel."

Meanwhile, Zimeray is trying to succeed where Israeli public relation efforts have failed. Yes, he believes Israel's public relations should be more effective, and could be improved, particularly in view of what he terms "the globalization of anti-Semitism." "Europe thinks of the Jews, Israel and the Israeli government as a single entity. Since Israel's policy is rejected, so are all the other components of the entity," he theorizes.

According to Zimeray, "Europeans want to get rid of their old feelings of guilt about the Jews, which are hard to live with. That's why they characterize Israel as a Nazi country, and Sharon as a dictator. That's obviously wrong, but it serves their need to rid themselves of their guilty feelings. That's easier to do, when they say that yesterday's victims are now doing to others what was done to them. That's very seductive, because then the collective European 'we' isn't so guilty. For the Europeans, supporting the Palestinians is a form of self-therapy. What's is really terrible is that this therapy, and the policy it engenders is costing the lives of innocent Israelis."

Another element in European antagonism towards Israel is the need to be different from the US. "I think anti-Americanism is Europe's new 'ism', and Israel is paying the price," Zimeray says. "Israel is considered one of the United States, and is therefore included in the hostility towards the US."

Zimeray believes that until some dramatic event forces Europe has to directly face the problem of terrorism, it will not understand what Israel faces. "It's very disheartening to think that even the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the US did not wake people up, but it's a fact," he comments. "It should be realized that as long as comprehension of terrorism is lacking, Europe will not understand Israel turn to the political right in the elections. Although terrorist cells have been discovered in various European countries, European politicians simply lack an understanding of terrorism."

Next year, Zimeray plans to promote the establishment of a European-wide Jewish lobby something like a European version of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). According to Zimeray, "The Jewish communities in Europe are organized where religion is concerned, but have not been organized into a political force. I think this is necessary. Such a body could act according to the political culture of Europe, not the US, but the essence is the same the creation of a Jewish lobby, which would affect European policy."

 

“EU PROBES EVIDENCE ITS AID TO PALESTINIANS FUNDED TERRORISM”

"EU probes evidence its aid to Palestinians funded terrorism"
World Tribune
February 7, 2003

The European Union, amid increasing complaints from parliamentarians, has launched an investigation of its aid to the Palestinian Authority.

"We have found no evidence that EU monies have been misused by the Palestinian Authority in order to finance terrorist activities," European Commission for External Relations Chris Patten said.

On Wednesday, the EU's anti-fraud office said the investigation of the European funding to the PA would take several months, Middle East Newsline reported. The office said the investigation was prompted by information received in late 2002.

The probe was announced amid plans by up to 170 parliamentarians to order an independent investigation of EU funding to the PA. The parliamentarians complained that the PA was using the $10.8 million a month in EU aid to finance Palestinian attacks against Israel.

The European Commission has opposed a call by parliamentarians for a formal committee of inquiry. Such a panel would have the authority to visit the West Bank and Gaza Strip as part of an EU investigation.

EU sources said the parliamentarians were prompted by an Israeli report that asserted that 10 percent of the PA budget was being concealed. The report submitted to the EU provided documents that suggested that PA Chairman Yasser Arafat signed bank transfers to Palestinian insurgents.

The parliamentarians said PA officials have failed to provide a sufficient response to the Israeli report. PA Finance Minister Salam Fayyad said the Palestinan regime is not transparent and is vulnerable to corruptive practices.

"We are not for Israel, for Palestinians or against them," European parliamentarian Willy De Clerq, a Belgian Liberal, said. "We want the truth. That's all. Transparency is the key. Verification will help the credibility of the EU."

The International Monetary Fund has been authorized to oversee donor aid to the PA. But IMF officials said the fund cannot audit every line item in the Palestinian budget.

Ilka Schroeder, a European parliamentarian from Germany, said Patten has tolerated the PA use of European funding for Palestinian insurgency attacks. Schroeder warned that parliament would launch a probe without the support of the commission.

 

EU PARLIAMENT MOVES CLOSER TO SPECIAL INQUEST INTO PALESTINIAN FUNDS

EU Parliament moves closer to push for special inquest into how EU funds used by Palestinians
Yahoo news.com
January 30, 2003

The European Union's Parliament moved closer to setting up a special inquiry Thursday into whether millions of euros (US$) in EU aid to Palestinians was being used to fund terrorism.

Officials said a petition with the required support of 157 members or one quarter of 626-member EU assembly calling for a special committee was approved this week to investigate claims that EU funds were being misused.

Charles Tannock, a British Conservative member and one of the proponents pushing for the investigation, said the findings of such a probe could clear the way for new aid to the Palestinians "once it can be shown that the money can be used for the much-needed reconstruction of the West Bank and Gaza."

The request for setting up a special committee now goes to the assembly's party leaders who will meet with the parliament's President Pat Cox to consider the issue next month.

The issue over how EU funds were being spent has led to a long-standing dispute between the parliament and EU External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten.

EU lawmakers agreed last June to release new EU aid worth 18.7 million euros(US$20.1 million) that had been held up over charges that some money was going to fund terrorism, but demanded "full transparency" in how it is spent.

The release of the aid came only after Patten passionately defended his efforts to keep tabs on the more than 1.4 billion euro (US$1.5 billion) the EU has spent over the past decade on projects in the occupied territories.

Patten has said that the European Commission found "no evidence of EU funds being used for any purposes other than that for which they were intended."

But despite Patten's reassurances, EU lawmakers continue to have their doubts.

"Since there can be no investigations expected neither from Mr. Patten nor from the rather shortsighted Commission President Mr. Prodi, the parliament will have to take action," said German green member, Ilka Schroeder.

EU aid since June 2001 has included 10 million euros (US$10.8 million) a month in budgetary assistance to the Palestinian Authority to make up for Israel's refusal to hand over customs and taxes it collects on the Palestinians' behalf.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has accused the EU of being pro-Palestinian, something Patten and others vehemently deny.

Israel said last year it had evidence that EU aid was being used to fund Palestinian military actions against Israeli troops and citizens.

 

ARAFAT KNEW CHARITY MONEY FORWARDED TO TERROR INFRASTRUCTURE

Arafat knew: Charity money forwarded to terror infrastructure
IDF (Israeli army website)
January 23, 2003

http://www.idf.il
http://dover.idf.il/IDF/English/

Documents seized from Gaza deal with reports sent to Yasser Arafat concerning the activities of the Charity Coalition the umbrella organization of Islamic charity funds which solicits contributions from Arabic countries and the West, then transfers them to charity associations in the West Bank, most of which are identified with the terror organization Hamas. In these reports Arafat was informed of meetings held in Yemen between senior coalition members and Hamas terrorists and of contributions collected from the West Bank and Israel. The collection of incriminating documents discovered in the PA Preventive Security compound in Gaza were addressed to Arafat and describe the principal activities of the Charity Coalition (Aathlaf al Hir).

These documents reveal that on 2 September 2002, the head of the Palestinian Preventive Security Service in the Gaza Strip, Rashid abu Shoubak, sent a memorandum to Arafat wherein he reported the visit of a contingent of Charity Coalition senior managers and members of the Coalition's Jordanian branch with Islamic associations in Yemen. Abu Shoubak, who maintains the collection infrastructure in Yemen, listed in the memorandum the names of the people the contingent members met in Yemen, many of whom are known Hamas terrorists, and stressed at the end of the memorandum that the Charity Coalition financially supports Hamas' terror infrastructure.

THE COALITION WAS FOUNDED TO CARRY OUT FUNDRAISING FOR THE PALESTINIANS

The Charity Coalition was founded under the name "101 days" during a worldwide Islamic fund-raising campaign for the benefit of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. A short while after the Al-Aqsa Intifada began in the West Bank, its name was changed to "the Charity Coalition"(Aathlaf al Hir) the umbrella organization that encompasses Islamic organizations in the Arabic and Western worlds.

The Charitable Coalition gathers contributions from dozens of Islamic charity funds, particularly in the West and the Gulf States and transfers them to the West Bank. Among the more prominent units of the Coalition are three funds belonging to Hamas in Europe: "the al-Aqsa Fund" (located in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands), "the Palestinian Relief and Development Fund" Interpal (located in Great Britain), and "the Committee for Assistance and Solidarity with Palestine" (located in France). In should be noted that all three were legally outlawed by Israel in May 1997 due to their association with Hamas.

POCKET MONEY FOR SUICIDE TERRORISTS

Money solicited by the Charity Coalition is not transferred to the Palestinian Authority nor to neutral civilian bodies in the West Bank, instead it is transferred directly to charity associations in the West Bank identified with Hamas.

Many of the Charity Coalition's activists and management council members are Islamic terrorists and some of them are even Hamas activists: the Qatari Islamic spiritual leader, Sheikh Yussuf al-Kardawi, chairman of the fund-raising organization which stood for the principle of founding the Coalition; Azzam Mustafa Yusuf, the acting director of the Coalition ( in the past stood at the head of the British Hamas fund "Interpal", and still serves a senior role in the fund); Azzam Na'aman Salheb, member of the Coalition's management council (Hamas activist and member of the Coalition's regional conflict council in Hebron); Bassam Nahad Jarrar, member of management council (senior member of the religious wing of Hamas in Ramallah); another member of the Association is Raad Salakh, among the senior members of the Islamic Movement in Israel.

MONEY FOR HUMANITARIAN PURPOSES FINANCES TERRORIST ACTIVITIES

Rashib abu Shabah attached a batch of Charity Coalition documents to the memorandum that had been sent by fax in August 2002. He claimed that one of the documents details the results of the three "fund drives" carried out by the Charity Coalition in the West Bank and among Israeli Arabs. These documents, and another seized document dealing with transfer of money contributed from Bosnia-Herzegovina to a charity association in the West Bank identified with Hamas, indicates the Authority's concern over large sums of money channeled from abroad to bodies identified with Hamas. These funds maintain Hamas' civilian infrastructure and arrangements among the Palestinian populace. And Hamas' circle of supporters in the West Bank continues to expand, providing for ever widening brainwashing and encouragement for the terrorist organization's activities.

Moreover, money earmarked for humanitarian purposes also flows into Hamas' military-operation infrastructure and serves to underwrite terror activities. Attached to Rashid abu Shoubak's memorandum were several Charity Coalition documents. Due to their illegibility they were not translated, except for a single document, which was translated in its entirety. The memorandum clearly lists charity associations that are complicitous with the Charity Coalition. It mentions charity associations from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Great Britain and the Netherlands.

 

“REMEMBER WHY ISRAEL WAS CREATED”

Remember why Israel was created
By Piero Ostellino
Corriere della Sera
February 7, 2003

It seems to me that the best way to mark the "Day of Remembrance" would be to never abandon Israel to those who desire its destruction. I think this would mean avoiding distinctions between the Jews and Israel, between Israelis and their governments. Israel represents the Jews who are no longer willing to let themselves be killed by totalitarian regimes, religious fundamentalism and racism.

The State of Israel represents those Jews who have learned to defend themselves. Its governments, whatever their political inclination, are the democratic and free expression of the sovereignty of the people. It would be good not to forget that.

The English say "Right or wrong, my country," meaning "Whatever my government does, I am with my country." As Italians, we say that we stand with the Jews, but point out too often that the Jews and Israelis are one thing and that Israel and its government, particularly when we disagree with it, are another.

Consciously or unconsciously, our support for Israel depends on its governments. If the government has a political color we like, we are unconditionally behind Israel. If not, we end up burning its flag, without asking ourselves whether those fires border on racism. Is the distinction between Jews and Israel, people and government, politically accurate and morally acceptable? I think not.

The distinction implies a moral denial of the reasons behind the birth of Israel, the political disavowal of its international recognition and of its internal democratic character, and of the legitimacy of its government.

Even if the government which has emerged from this week's election represents the perception of what is in the national interest, and more importantly of how to pursue the interest of only part of the population, it still represents the whole country when faced with those who seek its destruction. This is the spirit of Israeli democracy. And this should be the spirit of those who still guard memory in their hearts.

From whatever angle one looks at it, the distinction between Jews and Israel, between the government and Israelis, ends up being a morally and politically ambiguous way of distancing oneself from Israel, and from what it represents to all humanity, with the excuse of distancing oneself only from its government.

It risks becoming, on the one hand, a "politically correct" form of support to Israelis who are victims of almost daily massacres, and on the other hand something worse than the tacit insinuation that its government, in the end, asked for it. After all, this distinction can become the political and moral justification for the attacks.

There is a corresponding obligation to the legitimate right to criticize the Israeli government for what it does, and that is not to forget.

All of humanity is indebted to the Jews and should ask for forgiveness, as the Holy Father has done, for all the persecutions they have suffered. Humanity has taken upon itself a responsibility towards the fledgling state of Israel, after the division of Palestine: to ensure, from then on, its existence.

It is more than ever in times like these, with the resurgence of odious and dangerous expressions of anti-Semitism in the whole world, that our collective conscience is called upon to keep our word, in remembrance of that debt.

In the Middle East, a carnage has been taking place for over two years. We are perhaps on the brink of war with Iraq, a war that many consider unnecessary and fraught with dangerous consequences.

Challenging the right of the Jewish people to exist and have a nation would amount to a political and moral regression in the name of a misguided peace effort.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.