The Parliamentary working group looking into EU aid in MENA (Middle East region) held its inaugural meeting in the European Parliament last Wednesday .
Attended by most of the working group MEPs and some of their staffers, the group, instigated by EIPA, was honoured to hear from Mr Abu Khaled Toameh, a renowned Israeli-Arab journalist, commentator and proud Palestinian. With a rapier wit, Mr Toameh is an advocate for wholesale change in the Palestinian Leadership, a position that has led to his move to Jerusalem and frequent threats from the Palestinian political leadership.
Mr Toameh spoke to the group about Palestinian incitement, from when you are born to when you die – as he put it – the Palestinian population are fed lies and conspiracy theories about Jews, that prompt not only attacks, but fundamentally leave the population completely unprepared for making peace with Israel. Most of this incitement is perpetuated by the Palestinian Authority, which receives around 170 Million euros a year in direct subsidies from EU aid (please note we are not talking about stopping or cutting aid to the population as a whole, just to the Palestinian Authority.)
Mr Toameh urged the working group to leverage this direct aid, “Make them accountable!, if you make them only 5% more accountable you will have achieved something”, he said. What motivation is for them to change when they know every year a nice cheque is coming? he added.
There then followed a lengthy q&a between the working group and Mr Toameh.