The European Union on Tuesday ordered its representatives in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to investigate whether E.U. funds are reaching organizations affiliated with Palestinian terrorist groups.
The move follows a report by NGO Monitor, a watchdog group that promotes greater transparency among foreign-funded nongovernmental organizations operating in Israel.
The watchdog recently exposed an E.U. letter to an umbrella organization of 142 leading Palestinian NGOs assuring them that, even if a Palestinian NGO applying for E.U. grants is an affiliate of E.U.-designated terrorist groups or employs individuals from these groups, the E.U. will still provide the organization with funds and legitimacy.
After the information became public, E.U. Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi stated that the European Union “will have to conduct an in-depth review, and if there is any concern we will act immediately. … This [funding terrorism] will not be tolerated. And if it happens it will have to be rectified.”
The Commission for Neighborhood and Enlargement is in charge of overseeing the accession process of prospective member states and relations with states bordering the European Union. The commission’s policy is directed towards candidate states along the E.U.’s eastern border and on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.
Following the exposé on how the European Union was potentially skirting the ban on financing terrorism, the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem had summoned E.U. Ambassador to Israel Emanuel Joffre to ask for clarifications on the matter.
Tuesday saw Joffre reiterate that “if there is evidence of improper use of E.U. funds we will investigate them.”
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.