The Commission made it clear that so far no evidence has been found to prove that European money given in the context of humanitarian aid to Palestine has gone to unintended purposes.
In particular, as the Commission’s announcement states, today (21.11.2023) the results of its review of the European Union’s ongoing financial aid for Palestine were published, which announced two days after the Hamas terrorist attack in Israel on October 7.
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen emphasized that “the EU is the largest international donor of aid to the Palestinians. After the terrible events of October 7th, a careful review of our financial aid was necessary. This review confirmed that the safeguards in place are effective. Work now continues to plan our future support to the Palestinians in light of the changing and still evolving situation.”
It is underlined that the review showed that the Commission’s controls and existing safeguards – which have been significantly strengthened in recent years – are working well and no evidence has been found to date which prove that the money has been diverted for unintended purposes.
The two controls
The review followed a two-stage approach. The first operational audit was carried out to assess the feasibility of the projects in the light of the new situation in the field. As part of this step, the review identified a list of unfeasible height projects 75.6 million euros, which will be reprogrammed to support the Palestinians in light of new priorities to be identified on the ground. It mainly concerns major infrastructure projects, including natural gas for Gaza, the Gaza desalination plant and access to water services, the implementation of which is not feasible in the current framework.
As part of the second step, the Commission carried out risk assessment, for which all implementing partners were asked to provide information on their control mechanisms in place. In the current framework, the Commission has identified a number of additional measures, such as including relevant anti-incitement contractual clauses in all new contracts and ensuring that their strict implementation is monitored at all times. This could be done primarily through third-party monitoring of beneficiaries.
While additional information is being sought from all grantees and pillar-assessed organizations in order to assess whether potential adjustments are necessary, ongoing support will continue to be provided with organizations that have provided the clarifications requested and assurances about safeguards in place; in particular organizations of EU Member States and international financial institutions.
Beneficiaries accused of inciting hatred and violence following the events of 7 October 2023 were asked to comment on the allegations made against them. This mainly concerns two projects with civil society organisations. Payments will be processed once satisfactory clarifications are providedaccording to the financial regulation.
The article Commission on funding to Palestine: “No evidence found that European money has gone to unintended purposes” was published on Fourals.com.