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EU probes diversion of its aid to Palestinian Authority

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

LONDON European parliamentarians have launched a formal investigation into how the Palestinian Authority spends more than $10 million in monthly aid from the European Union.

The European Parliament has formed a working group to investigate complaints of corruption and misuse in the EU aid to the PA. The working group has begun meeting in Strasbourg, France and plans to issue a report by the end of 2003.

From November 2000 to December 2002, the EU provided 246.3 million euros to the PA budget, Middle East Newsline reported. A statement by the parliament said the working group is investigating EU aid to the PA during that period.

The panel was created in March amid demands by parliamentarians, who said EU money was being used to finance Palestinian insurgency attacks against Israel as well as fund textbooks that preach hatred against Israel.

The United States does not aid the PA but maintains humanitarian programs in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The European Commission tried to block the parliamentary investigation. The commission oversaw EU aid, meant to pay salaries in the PA.

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