The European Union has finally started doing the right thing by cutting its funding of the hopelessly corrupt Palestinian Authority?but for all the wrong reasons.
Denying that any of its financial support has been diverted to terrorist activity, the EU is reducing its $120 million annual aid by one-third because of the continued lack of transparency of PA finances.
Not because PA Chairman Yasser Arafat has eschewed any prospect for peace and instead orchestrated a three and a half year terrorist campaign designed to kill as many Israeli citizens as possible, mind you, but because he didn?t do so with ?transparent? finances.
To the EU?dominated by governments like France and Germany who were content to continue allowing Saddam a free hand in torturing and slaughtering his own people?terrorism is just another form of political expression.
The EU is not reducing its funding because of the over 900 Israelis?most of them civilians?murdered since the start of the intifada in 2000. The EU is also not acting in response to the continued incitement drummed up the Palestinian media, almost all of which operates, to some degree, under the thumb of Arafat.
If a peaceful two-state solution were the true goal of the bureaucrats in Brussels, the EU could have cut the PA?s funding for its refusal to recognize the right of a Jewish state of Israel to exist, either in its official maps?which show one Palestinian state and no Israel?or in Arafat?s Arabic-language speeches, where he is far less conciliatory than when he speaks for international consumption in English.
But the unwillingness to agree on a basic tenet of any peace agreement apparently doesn?t faze the EU.
The EU likewise is not cutting PA funding in response to a particularly ugly recent terrorist attack, carried out by someone on the PA?s payroll. Last month, a 24-year-old Palestinian policeman from Bethlehem stepped on a public bus in Jerusalem and blew himself up, killing eleven and wounding 40.
Claiming responsibility for the attack was the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which is part of Arafat?s Fatah organization. If the EU has any doubt that its taxpayers? money is supporting terrorism, the January 29 attack is but the latest example.
Even when it is one of the other terrorist groups murdering Israeli innocents, Arafat?and thus the PA, which exists largely for propagating his tyranny?is responsible. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, among others, terrorize without fear of reprisal from the PA, which has repeatedly made clear that it will not crack down on terrorism.
Arafat is also responsible for the indoctrination of young Palestinians into the culture of death, one that molds young minds to not just hate Jews, but to kill them. Recalling the most repugnant propaganda from Nazi Germany, every Palestinian child is brainwashed to believe that no Jew is innocent and that ?martyrdom? in the name of Jihad is the ultimate achievement.
By any account, this assembly line converting impressionable Palestinian youths into mass murderers is funded by international aid. But that has nothing to do with the EU lowering its financial support of the PA.
Children duped into violating the Quran?s prohibition on suicide, though, are not the only Palestinian victims of Arafat?s intifada. Each time Palestinian civilians die when Israel is forced to defend itself by taking out the terrorists that the PA protects, Arafat has blood on his hands.
Apparently, though, even that isn?t a problem for the EU.
Arafat continues his murderous ways because that is what works. He was receiving from the EU $10 million monthly (or $120 million per year) in 2001 and 2002, which is just after he walked away from a peace agreement that gave him almost everything he ever claimed to want?and he instead launched the intifada. In other words, terrorism pays.
At least the EU is withholding some of its support of the EU. The U.S. isn?t. According to the State Department, the U.S. has funneled $175 million in direct and indirect aid to the PA, including $20 million in cash last summer.
To get back in the EU?s good graces?and its cash?Arafat does not need to ditch terrorism; he just needs better accounting. Terrorism doesn?t pay, after all, if you can?t keep clean books while you?re murdering innocent civilians.
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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