to the Presidents of the so-called "Working Group" of the European Parliament concerning the EU-funding of the Palestinian Authority
End the complicity of the European Parliament!
Dear Ms Theato,
it is a well known fact that the EU-funding for the Palestinian Authority was channelled to a black budget. It is also well known, that the Palestinian Authority has financed a murderous anti-Semitic terrorist war against Israel. Israel provided the European Commission with proof of this use of EU-funding in May 2002. Since then, the Commission denies to have any knowledge of this specific use of the money and the Conference of Presidents successfully stalled an inquiry committee on this issue. The Working Group was established in order to downplay the importance of the issue. OLAF, the anti-fraud office of the EU, began an investigation.
In the last few weeks, several German and Austrian newspapers reported that OLAF-investigators were sent to Israel and the Territories. It was furthermore reported, that even the investigating OLAF team could not deny that the accusations are well-founded. Markus Ferber (PPE, Germany) was quoted in the German newspaper "Die Welt" (30.01.2004) that he thinks that the resignation of Commissioner Patten could be a "quite possible" outcome of the OLAF-Investigations. ("Auch der CSU-Europaparlamentarier Markus Ferber sagte, er halte einen Rücktritt des britischen Außenkommissars 'für durchaus möglich'.")
Johannes Swoboda (PSE, Austria) who was against any inquiry committee was quoted: "There are hints, that money for financial support was indirectly channelled to the surroundings of terrorist organisations" (Die Presse, 03.02.04: "Es gibt Hinweise, dass Hilfsgelder der EU indirekt in den Nahbereich terroristischer Organisationen geflossen sind".) Only a few days later, Armin Laschet (PPE, Germany) was quoted in the German newspaper "Die Welt": "It is obvious that the direct budgetary assistance to the Palestinian Authority was a big mistake". ("Aber dass die Zahlung von pauschalen Haushaltshilfen der EU an die Arafat-Behörde ein großer Fehler war, ist offensichtlich.")
Many words, but little action. The "Working Group" is working in camera the whole time its mandate lasts under a breach of the rules of procedures. I do not know, if, when and whom you will inform about your findings. If this takes you much more time it will be too late for any serious consequences and the downplay of the scandal will continue.
In June, a new Parliament will be elected. The fact, that the European Union allowed the use of EU money to kill Israeli citizens would most probably be considered as a mere historical discussion. The scandal, that the EU has participated indirectly in a war against Israel, will be just a footnote.
Something is wrong in this calculation. There are many more people involved in the support of the PA than the retiring Commissioner Christopher Patten. It is not only the Commission and its administration who are responsible. Let us also talk about the Presidents of the political groups, who took the relevant decision: José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Enrique Barón Crespo, Graham Watson and my dear comrade Francis Wurtz who vetoed against the Rules of Procedures the request of 158 MEPs for an Inquiry Committee. Let us also talk about Hans-Gert Poettering, who attended the meeting, but said nothing, and Daniel Cohn-Bendit, who did not attend and said nothing either but who let this happen even after a formal complaint from Charles Tannock and myself. Let us talk about the Court of Auditors that was informed by myself and did, as far as we know, nothing. Let us talk about your role and the role of the whole Working Group: What have you done behind closed doors? What will be the results of your work, when and if you are going to Israel and the Territories in March 2004? And we can continue to ask why it did take OLAF such a long time to react. (It was in summer 2002, when Israel sent the proof for the use made of the European money to the Commission.)
Many of the people involved would like to get re-elected, some of them will be in charge after June 2004. Therefore, I suggest:
You as chairpersons of the "Working Group" that was installed to prevent any serious investigation of the accusations have now a good chance to act responsibly.