The EU’s Conditional Aid and Suppression of Palestinian Rights

Incoming foreign minister of the European Union, Josep Borrell. (Photo: File)

By Ramona Wadi

The European Union’s incoming Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell has already signaled a continuation of the bloc’s prevailing politics when it comes to Palestine – preserve the two-state compromise by ensuring funding to the Palestinian Authority.

“If anyone helps the Palestinians today and their right to have their own state, that is Europe,” Borrell declared at the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs. The truth is Europe does neither; it is merely concerned with maintaining its influence when it comes to the two-state compromise and peace-building narratives, all of which serve the EU’s political agenda.

Summarising the gist of the EU’s foreign policy when it comes to Palestine, Borrell tweeted:

“The EU contributes almost one million € a day to attend the Palestinian Authority. We must continue to defend a peaceful coexistence and the two states solution.”

A succinct description of what EU funding constitutes – providing the PA with the necessary backing to function without the existence of a Palestinian state.

For the EU, maintaining the two-state paradigm at the helm of policy works better than implementation, which is now inapplicable anyway. The pretense of state-building, which the PA forms part of, is also a veneer that shifts focus away from the EU’s lucrative trade deals with Israel. Borrell has already stated, unsurprisingly, that the EU’s trade agreements with Israel will not be broken. In 2017, Israel-EU trade amounted to €36.2 billion, which pales in comparison to EU assistance to the PA.

For Palestinians, therefore, the EU only finances hypotheses – in Borrell’s words, “the possibility of the creation of a Palestinian state that can coexist peacefully with an Israeli state.” The EU can claim to be the biggest donor to the Palestinians, yet it is financing its own agenda, rather than providing the means for Palestinians to demand their legitimate political rights.

The Oslo Accords, which allowed Israel to colonize additional Palestinian land, have not been repudiated by the EU. On the contrary, there has been no contestation of the framework on the grounds that it has stripped Palestinians of what remained of their land and freedom.

With the PA a willing accomplice, the EU has never been challenged by Palestinian political bureaucrats to uphold the rights of the Palestinian people. Conversely, the PA reaches out to the EU for assistance in maintaining the violations imposed by Israel and to which the international community turns a blind eye.

Europe is not helping Palestinians towards statehood – it is maintaining the illusion of statehood as an interim project, while Israel colonizes what remains of Palestinian territory. The Oslo Accords are vague and so is EU policy towards Palestine. Instead of seeking clear parameters to decolonize Palestine, the EU is adopting the same ambiguities that have transformed Palestinians into a humanitarian project against their will.

The EU is merely financing its unwarranted justification of the two-state paradigm and forcing Palestinians into conditional financial aid. While nothing new is expected when it comes to the EU’s farcical peace and state-building for Palestinians, Borrell has indicated the EU’s agenda upfront – the financing of agendas and illusions to enable Israel’s ongoing colonial project.

– Ramona Wadi is a staff writer for Middle East Monitor, where this article was originally published. She contributed this article to the Palestine Chronicle.

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