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European Union

The EU has a history of funding contentious construction initiatives for the Palestinians.

By Pesach Benson, United With Israel

A new European Union initiative in eastern Jerusalem may be interfering with Israeli sovereignty over the city, Israel Hayom reported on Wednesday.

The EU’s agency for Palestinians announced on Facebook the launch of a “housing and infrastructure support” s meant to “preserve Palestinian identity in east Jerusalem.”

The announcement was posted on Jan. 30 in Arabic on the Facebook account, “European Union and the Palestinians.” That’s the official Facebook account of the Office of the EU Representative (West Bank, Gaza Strip, UNRWA).

The post also noted that the EU signed an agreement with the Palestinian Housing Council to help develop both housing and infrastructure in eastern Jerusalem “to “strengthen the resilience of its Palestinian population.”

The Palestinian Housing Council’s website describes itself as a non-profit foundation which aims to develop housing in Judea and Samaria.

Palestinians with permanent residency, valid building permits, and those in the final stage of construction are eligible for aid, the announcement added.

Israel Hayom reported that the $3.4 million initiative is being carried out in coordination with the Palestinian Authority’s “Housing and Construction” and “Jerusalem Affairs” ministries.

Under the terms of the Oslo agreements, the PA and other official Palestinian institutions are barred from such activities in Jerusalem.

In August, Im Tirtzu, a Zionist watchdog organization, reported that the EU provided funds for a convicted Palestinian terrorist to build illegal structures in the Gush Etzion bearing the logos of the EU and other NGOs.

And in October, the EU raised Israeli ire by funding a tourism development hub in eastern Jerusalem with the objective of “maintaining the Palestinian identity of the city.”

Critics of the EU say funding building projects in eastern Jerusalem and other highly contested areas of Judea and Samaria violates international law as well as Israeli-Palestinian agreements, especially given the involvement of PA ministries.

Critics also question the lack of oversight in the way the EU’s public funds are budgeted for, and then used by Palestinian non-governmental organizations.

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