The European Union, the biggest donor to the Palestinians, is set to ramp up its aid in the wake of the Israeli pullout from the Gaza strip, the European Commission said on Wednesday.
The Brussels body said it was contemplating doubling its aid to the West Bank and Gaza by up to €300m (£203m, $358m) a year. This year the Commission has provided about €280m.
“We want to do more,” said Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the EU's external relations Commissioner. “For the first time in years I think it's plausible to talk about the relaunch of the Palestinian economy.“
However, the Commission said the increase in aid, the details of which will be announced early next year, would depend on progress on the stalled “road map” to Middle East peace and contributions by other donors.
In particular, it wants to see reforms to the Palestinian Authority's security services, as well as Israeli guarantees about border crossings that could end the Palestinians' economic isolation. The Commission's plans also sound a self-critical note, reflecting internal pressures from EU officials who have called for the Union to do more to revive the road map, which sets out a path to the establishment of a Palestinian state.
“The EU must increase the effectiveness of its messages rejecting the recent upsurge in settlement activity and efforts to establish new ‘facts on the ground',” the Commission acknowledged in a formal “communication” to national governments and the European parliament yesterday."
As long as the "road map" has a Palestinian state as its goal, Palestinians can continue to do outrageous crimes with impunity because they know that the EU is going to ultimately back them anyway.