The European Union has been rattling Israel with threats against the occupation for months. Now it is going even further, with an unnamed official threatening to cut off funds to the Palestinian Authority in comments to the Associated Press:
“the EU cannot fund the Israeli occupation anymore. Israel needs to be responsible for its occupation. This means no more EU money to the PA.”
It is common on the left to hear the PA described as stooges for the occupation. Now the EU is evidently beginning to reflect this analysis. This is a significant development.
From the Associated Press‘s Tia Goldenberg:
In another threat meant to spur the sides toward a deal, an EU official said Europe would tell the Palestinians on Tuesday it would cut aid off to the Palestinian Authority, which relies on donor funding to function. But such a move would hurt Israel more than the Palestinians, since it would leave Israel responsible for the fate of some 2.5 million Palestinians living under military occupation.
“If there is no deal, the EU cannot fund the Israeli occupation anymore. Israel needs to be responsible for its occupation. This means no more EU money to the PA,” said the official, who requested anonymity because he was discussing private diplomatic matters. The official did not say when the funds might be cut off and it was not clear how concrete the threat was.
Europe has become increasingly vocal over the stalemate between Israel and the Palestinians.
Last week, EU auditors recommended that the bloc should stop paying the salaries of Palestinian civil servants in Gaza who haven’t worked since Hamas seized the territory from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007, leaving him with only the West Bank. Abbas decided at the time to keep paying their salaries, on condition they stay home and not work for the Hamas government. The practice is a key tool for Abbas to maintain political support in Gaza and counter Hamas’ efforts to deepen its control.