Earth To EU: Now What?
After a 15-month-long economic embargo of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority, the EU bloc is for the first time opening its coffers and resuming aid to the minister of finance.What unity government, EU?
On Monday (11 June), the European Commission signed an agreement paving the way to technical assistance and training of officials in the Palestinian finance ministry, led by Salam Fayyad, a political independent and a former World Bank official.
"The European Union's first step will be a €4 million project to help the minister of finance in ensuring that Palestinian taxpayers' money is spent efficiently and that all expenditures are accounted for to the highest international standards," Brussels announced on Monday (11 June), after the deal between the two parties was signed in Ramallah.
The Palestinian Authority has been under an aid embargo since Hamas – blacklisted by the west as a terrorist organization - won elections in March 2006.
But earlier this year, the EU bloc signalled it was willing to cooperate with some "reliable" ministers of the Unity government, such as finance minister Salam Fayyad. The Unity government consists of the militant Hamas group and the more moderate Fatah movement. (EU Observer)
"Hamas is trying to take control of everything," Mr [Ahmad Al] Afifi [Palestine's intelligence chief] said after the fighting had raged all night.As long as Hamas is involved, there can be no unity. As long as Hamas is involved, people as theoretically wise as the leaders of the EU should know there can be no trust.
Hamas has been locked in a bloody power struggle with the rival Fatah party ever since it won a landslide parliamentary election in January last year. After months of on/off violence, the stalemate between the militant Islamists and the ousted Fatah moderates seemed destined to keep the Palestinian government paralysed.
Now, Hamas is pressing a fierce offensive in the Gaza Strip, systematically laying siege to the Fatah-dominated security services and looking at last for the decisive victory that could give it complete control of the Palestinian government.
The Fatah security services ruled the streets here for 15 years but are now holed up in fortified bunkers and a handful of neighbourhoods awaiting a threatened fully-fledged assault by Hamas. (The Telegraph)
So will a hold be placed on their €4 million project? Or will they just go on pretending you can let a group like Hamas have power and expect things to progress according to accepted international standards?