AIJAC adds its voice to the monitoring of aid to Gaza

October 26, 2023 by J-Wire News Service
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The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) has joined international Jewish organisations in calling on the European Commission to monitor the allocation of humanitarian aid to the Palestinians – ensuring that funds are not diverted to Hamas and other armed groups in Gaza.

Colin Rubenstein

It also called on the European Commission to ensure that all necessary steps were taken to ensure the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held by Hamas.

AIJAC Executive Director Dr Colin Rubenstein signed the open letter to Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the 27-member European Commission.

The letter was prepared by the Jerusalem Institute of Justice – an Israeli legal and research institute recognised internationally for its work in protecting human rights.

The letter acknowledged Ms von der Leyen’s visit to southern Israel after the terrorist attacks and her condemnation of the terrorist acts carried out by Hamas, which she described as the `the most heinous assault against Jews since the Holocaust’.

The letter welcomed the European Union Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi’s October 9th declaration that the EU would place its entire 691 million euro Palestinian development portfolio under review before issuing new payments.

Furthermore, the letter said the European Union has established procedures and mechanisms to ensure that its financial aid reaches the intended recipients. However, it has not effectively implemented these measures when it comes to the funds provided to Palestinian civilians.

Dr Rubenstein said: “This is about guaranteeing that the European Commission while conducting a comprehensive review of all EU financial assistance to the Palestinians ensures that no EU funds are used to finance terrorism. We do not want to see a misappropriation of funds for the purpose of inflicting even graver harm on the civilian population in Gaza and Israel.”

The letter cited a recent example of financial misappropriation of European humanitarian aid which involved a 699,236 euro grant in 2017-2019. Three senior employees of NGOs who were arrested as part of a terror network that had ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine were the beneficiaries of the grant.

The letter was scheduled for public release on October 24th, at 6 p.m. (Israel time).

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