Should Germany and the EU continue to pay development aid to Palestine after Hamas’ attack on Israel? That’s why a debate broke out in Germany two days after the attack on Israel. Germany has paid 340 million euros in development aid to the Palestinians in the past two years, including possibly Hamas, a terrorist organization whose political wing has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007.
Politicians from the FDP and CDU are calling for the payments to be stopped. In view of Hamas’ attacks on Israel, Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) is demanding a recommendation from Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) as to whether Germany should continue to pay. “The terror is shocking. We shouldn’t just respond to him with words,” said Lindner.
Depending on the length of imprisonment, prisoners would receive between 329 and 2,823 euros
CDU foreign politician Roderich Kiesewetter is clearer. In a guest article for “The European” he explains in detail where the money from Germany goes: it is payments or budget support to the Palestinian Authority. “De facto, the institutions of the autonomous authority are eaten away by corruption and NGOs are supported that Israel classifies as terrorist.”
As an example, Kiesewetter cites the families of “martyrs” who committed terrorist attacks in Israel. They received between 100 and 350 euros in pension per month. Depending on the length of imprisonment, prisoners would receive between 329 and 2,823 euros. The corresponding fund is administered by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Almost five percent of the autonomous authorities’ entire budget, a total of almost 250 million euros, flowed into the fund. Kiesewetter writes that he does not rule out the possibility that these funds will also be used to pay these “pensions”.
Almost 300 million euros go to the Palestinians every year from the EU budget
Almost 300 million euros also flow to the Palestinians every year from the European Union budget, a third of which comes from Germany. “The majority in turn goes to the Ministry of Education there, which, among other things, publishes school books that are clearly anti-Semitic, in which terrorist attacks such as the Munich Olympic attack are glorified and which further fuel hatred of Jews,” writes Kiesewetter and demands: “ German tax money must not be used to finance anti-Semitic terrorism.”
Both Lindner and Kiesewetter initially received little attention from the Foreign Office with their considerations. A spokesman for Foreign Minister Baerbock initially defended the aid in the Palestinian territories: “We do not finance Hamas. No German money goes to terrorists.” Humanitarian aid is used in acute emergency situations and always in difficult contexts. We always look closely to see whether the funds are getting to where they should be.
German aid this year amounts to around 72 million euros
According to the ministry, the funds will be used in the Palestinian territories to provide people with food and in the health sector. This year, German aid there amounts to around 72 million euros. According to the spokesman, a large part of it was paid out. Anything that is still outstanding will be paid for because it would carry out life-saving tasks.
Shortly after this statement from a spokesman, Development Aid Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) stood in front of the microphones on Monday and made it clear that she was rethinking things. She said that the federal government would “review its entire commitment” to the Palestinian territories. “We want to do this in an orderly manner and in coordination with our partners. “We want to discuss with Israel how our development projects can best serve peace in the region and Israel’s security,” said Schulze. This is also “an expression of our unwavering solidarity with Israel.”
EU wants to put all projects to the test
The European Union also says that all projects will be examined, said EU Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi on Monday. This is a sum of 691 million euros. In principle, payments will not be suspended, added EU foreign policy representative Josep Borrell.
The EU only confirmed last month that it wanted to continue financing. In September, Borrell referred to the long-standing partnership with the refugee aid organization UNRWA. The EU is determined to continue to support the aid organization politically and financially. This applies to all areas in which it operates, including East Jerusalem.
Borrell last met with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh in New York on September 19th. Both sides had discussed the deteriorating situation on the ground, the EU said afterwards. Cooperation was emphasized, which was important in order to put an end to terrorism and incitement to violence. Since the Hamas attack, Borrell may have realized that these talks were not fruitful.
Kiesewetter: “Finally fundamentally” changing German Iran policy
However, that is not enough for Kiesewetter. He also calls for Germany’s Iran policy to be “finally fundamentally” changed. “Hamas’ coordinated actions indicate that Iran must have provided massive support here.” Iran is part of a terrible alliance of autocracies from Russia, China, North Korea and others that are using hybrid warfare as well as targeted military attacks against democracies .
“That’s why the federal government must finally take action domestically against organizations like the Islamic Center in Hamburg, which is accused of having contacts with Hezbollah and which is considered the hub of the Iranian regime’s operations in Germany.” In Hamburg, the so-called Blue Mosque is considered a center for Islamists, from which the regime in Tehran is planning terrorist attacks.