-- The European Commission is abuzz with financial scandals involving
significant sums and the EU's statistical agency. They pale, however,
compared with the consequences and scale of EU mismanagement in an
area that affects my family and me.
December, I traveled to Brussels as a member of a small contingent of
Israelis. Each of us had experienced the loss of a family member by
terrorism in the past two years. My daughter, Malka Chana, 15, was
killed by a Hamas terrorist cell. She was a high school student, a
talented musician, a volunteer passionately dedicated to the care of
disabled children. When her murderer exploded himself in a Jerusalem
restaurant in August 2001, he massacred 15 innocent civilians, mainly
children and teenagers. Hundreds were injured.
Patten, the EU's Commissioner for External Relations, plays a central
role in the provision of EU financial aid to the Palestinian
Authority. I intended to ask him in that visit whether he was aware of
evidence that EU money, channeled through his office to the PA and so
necessary to improving Palestinian lives, was being diverted to fund
terrorism. Did he believe a just peace could be achieved when teachers
paid from EU grants to UNRWA (U.N. Relief and Works Agency) teach
Palestinian children that Israel has no right to exist and that their
martyrdom is a glorious part of the ethnic cleansing of Jews from the
the other senior EU figures we approached, Mr. Patten declined to meet
us. We met his deputy instead. I referred him to evidence uncovered by
Israeli forces in 2002 showing that the PA's top managers skim money
off the payroll and that secret bank accounts are a routine part of
corruption in the PA. My concerns were misplaced, he said, since all
payments made via Mr. Patten's office to the PA are closely supervised
by the International Monetary Fund. Immediately after our meeting, I
checked the record and learned that some months before, the IMF had
published a report denying this. The IMF report confirmed budgetary
abuse by the PA.
this month, my family and I again lost friends to terrorism. One of
the victims of another massacre in a Jerusalem cafe was an emergency
room doctor, David Appelbaum, who had dedicated his life to caring for
terror victims -- Jews and Arabs alike. His daughter, killed with him,
was to be married the next evening. Their tragic murders led me to
reflect again on what it would take to stop the hate-filled education
of Palestinian children that turns them into walking grenades.
the EU's Web site, I found a Dutch MEP had just asked some questions
to Mr. Patten on this theme. Mr. Patten's written answer said that the
Commission "has no evidence of Community funding to the
Palestinian Authority being misused for anything other than its agreed
purpose. Should such evidence come to light, immediate action would be
was strikingly similar to his response to charges about the misuse of
EU money by the PA. The refrain was repeated after Human Rights
Watch's report into Palestinian terrorism noted that "The al-Aqsa
Martyrs' Brigades appear to have benefited from the routine misuse of
55% of all Palestinian Arabs are under the age of 20. Addressing their
needs is critical to the building of bridges of peace between our two
peoples. Around 3.5 billion euros in the form of EU aid reached the
Palestinian leadership between 1994 and 2001. Wherever it went, it has
failed to benefit their education or bring peace. The hateful messages
that permeate their education, including EU-funded textbooks,
guarantee another generation incapable of reconciling itself to peace
with Israelis. In fact, there is internal Palestinian correspondence
verifying that Hamas has taken control of the Palestinian Ministry of
Education, ensuring the children continue to be taught to admire and
emulate suicide bombers.
Patten promised immediate action when concrete evidence comes to
light. I have now written to
him, pointing to two specific sources.
the San Francisco Chronicle, in an interview last week with Mahmoud
Abbas, the PA prime minister who just resigned, quotes him as
confirming what Israeli documents proved 18 months ago: that the PA's
top managers skim money off the payroll and that secret bank accounts
story quoted Mr. Abbas as saying that Arafat blocked financial reforms
because they threatened illegal slush funds Arafat was using to pay
for the intifada. PA officials' salaries are paid by the EU, "but
Arafat or his cronies were skimming off up to 15% in income taxes and
using it for their own causes," said the story.
then quoted Mr. Abbas as saying "Personally, I don't know where
those funds go. When we wanted to cancel them, they said: `You're
harming the intifada'."
second source is a report on the Palestinian economy released last
week by the IMF. This reveals that $900 million was
"diverted" by Arafat from tax receipts alone over the past
several years. Most of it possibly ended up in Palestinian public
assets. But the IMF adds that not all the missing money can be
accounted for and points to additional specific problems in internal
PA budget control practices. Published Israeli military intelligence
reports said exactly this last year. Mr. Patten dismissed them.
Commission has stubbornly denied the existence of such corruption even
while serving as one of its principal feeders. Innocents like my
daughter die because money is available to lubricate the wheels of
evil and corruption and for hate-filled education.
letter reminds Mr. Patten that the EU-sponsored road map demands an
immediate end to Palestinian terrorism. He can choose to exercise the
funding power already in his control, and condition future PA grants
on unambiguous prior evidence that Palestinian education has become
peace-directed and positive. Or he can continue denying the price of
EU blood money.
Roth is CEO of a developer of tactile computer devices
for the blind. He and his wife established the Malki Foundation (www.kerenmalki.org)
in their murdered daughter's memory.