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EU suspends aid to Palestinians


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The European Commission has temporarily halted direct aid payments to the Palestinian government, which is now led by militant group Hamas.

European Union foreign ministers are due to meet next week to discuss what to do about future aid.

The EU is the largest donor to the Palestinian Authority, which is reliant on foreign aid.

The EU has been threatening to cut off direct payments unless Hamas renounces violence and recognises Israel.

A spokesman for the Hamas government said the decision to suspend aid was a form of "blackmail" that would harm the Palestinian people.

A European Commission spokeswoman, Emma Udwin, told reporters in Brussels that Hamas had not yet met the international community's conditions, which include a call for Hamas to accept past peace agreements with Israel.

She said the Commission was adopting "a policy of maximum prudence" so as not to pre-judge the European ministers' discussions in Luxembourg on Monday.

However, the BBC's diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus says the Commission's decision represents a clear warning to Hamas of the consequences of its failure to abide by international demands.

Cash-strapped government

Hamas, which took office last week under Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, has already said it would turn to the Islamic world to make up any shortfall in funding from the West.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has received about $600m (500m euros; £340m) a year in aid from the EU since its foundation in 1994, with another $400m coming from the US.

Ms Udwin said some $36.9m (30m euros; £21m) in aid from the European Commission was at stake in the immediate future.

The freeze covers all direct aid to the government and payment of public employees' salaries with EU funds through the World Bank.

It does not affect humanitarian aid sent to non-governmental organisations or to United Nations relief agencies.

Money from individual member states is not affected either.

The PA is facing a financial crisis. Mr Haniya said earlier this week that his government had inherited a finance ministry that had no money left, yet had mounting debts.

The European Commission released $143m (118m euros; £83m) in direct and indirect aid in February, before Hamas took office.

It has also redirected some aid to pay Palestinian electricity bills directly to suppliers, including the Israeli electricity company, without going through the government.



At least some aid is being stopped. :tu:

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Let's hope everyone else picks up on this idea and see what the palestinians think about their leadership then.

I do not want my tax dollar going to a group of people that consider me and my countries allies an enemy. It is ridiculous, and I am getting tired of the bleeding hearts that would want to give away everything that the citizens of this country have worked hard to earn to our sworn enemy.

Let them see the results of their choices; it isn't our job to take care of the enemy. We have enough problems with welfare in our own country, I do not want to have to support people in another country who are perpetually needing money. What a waste.

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Wow good for them...like fluffy said why would anyone want thier tax dollars to go to a country that considers them the "enemy"... :wacko:

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The United States and the European Union yesterday formally suspended projects and aid that might benefit the Hamas-led Palestinian government in a bid to pressure the radical Islamic group to recognize Israel and renounce violence. The U.S. aid cut was especially dramatic, with a freeze or termination of about half of $600 million that Congress had appropriated to assist the Palestinians.

The State Department documents indicate that about $600 million had been appropriated by Congress. Under the new allocations, the United States will suspend or cancel $411 million in planned programs, including road and water projects, small-business development, and electoral support.

The administration has budgeted $5 million to create an office that would verify that no U.S. funds are being diverted to Hamas entities.

OK: First off, why in the fock were we giving these guys money in the first place? Do you realize what 600 million dollars could do for our own people here in America? 600 Million to support a nation of people who HATE everything we stand for and if given the chance would wipe us off the face of the planet...DOES THIS MAKE SENSE TO ANYONE?????

We were actually giving those 3rd world terrorist money to improve their roads, start small businesses and improve their water? WTF is going on in Washington DC????

Now we blow another 5 million to create an office to make sure we don't accidently pay Hamas because we're so incompetant that we need actually create an office and staff of people whos job is to make sure of this...I've had enough, I'm moving to Canada first chance I get.

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