EU Ministers ratify Hamas blacklist

Headlines calling end of EU aid misleading

The meeting of EU Foreign Ministers today ratified the EU Commission calls for an end to aid to the PA, a positive move after the bold headlines of the weekend in isolating the Hamas PA terrorist government. The shift moves the EU in line with North American positions, and frankly isn’t such a big deal when one countenances the fact that it is illegal under EU law to pump money to a terrorist entity.

What has taken so long is what I’m more focused on, the answer is internal EU dissent. Leaders like Chirac, a strong opponent to ending the aid have thankfully been sidelined in the overall EU picture, part in parcel of the plummeting of France’s standing on the international stage, the Franco-German alliance dominating the EU agenda against all things American is over.

What is often being missed in the big headlines is the fact that only half the job is done, while the EU as an entity has halted aid, certain individual EU nations themselves have not yet signed on. The direct aid, or bilateral agreements between EU countries and the PA constitutes about half the overall sums being blared in the media, and I’m not even talking about direct humanitarian aid to the Palestinian populace. That’s why the meeting of Foreign Ministers and a ratification is of such importance, and even now it is still too early to call this diplomatic isolation tactic a success.

JPOST:[...] The EU’s executive Commission last Friday suspended direct aid – crucial budgetary funding typically used for road-building and other infrastructure projects and to meet the Palestinian Authority’s payroll.

"It is right we attach consequences to the fact the Palestinian government is not responding to our expectations" that it commit to peace with Israel, said German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Monday the EU had "responsibilities not to see the Palestinian people suffer."

"But so, too, does the Hamas government," Straw said, "because democracy carries with it responsibilities … not to go in for violence as a way of resolving arguments.

Aid to the Palestinians from the EU and its 25 member nations usually totals around €500 million (US$615 million) a year. Funds that have been suspended amount to about half of that, while the remainder comes from bilateral programs between governments.

But several EU nations, including Britain, Denmark and the Netherlands, have frozen their bilateral aid to the new Palestinian government. More may follow suit.

The United States, Canada and non-EU member Norway have also cut off payments. Hamas has condemned the suspension of aid as unfair, but has not tempered its radical ideology. [...]

It’s a positive step though frankly a minor one that the EU is following its own laws, the real test.. Whether EU nations cancel bilateral aid is now coming, the proof is in the eating of the pudding. Will the real noble EU nations please stand up? And where do you stand Mr. Chirac, you’re the biggest multilateral engagement cheerleader on earth, it’s a feather in your appeasement cap. Will this aid halt be like UN sanctions which certain nations seem to poke massive holes in as we’ve found in earth shattering scandals, making them utterly ineffective while all the while hypocritically praising them as a solution for all? Let’s see French and German bilateral cuts and announcements before we praise and laud Europe.

Leadership

I’ll reserve my personal praise for Jack Welch and the US Dept. of State, they have brought the EU on side until now, but clearly the bilateral job is not done and I wish them luck completing the policy initiatives of explaining to some the absurdity of not holding unreformed terrorists to account because they stuck themselves on a ballot. No matter what, it is a sad state of EU affairs to see continued world wide leadership emanating not from the European continent as they love to tout, but from America and Canada, followed by select European countries. If you’re so principled, it’s put up or shut up time in my humble opinion.

[tags]EU, Hamas, Aid, NGO, Palestinian Authority[/tags]