The European Union voted to release millions of dollars in funding to the Palestinian Authority that had been frozen over concerns about PA textbooks that encourage terror and promote incitement and hatred towards Jews, despite the PA reportedly not committing to change or withdraw those texts.
After a vote on Monday night, some $220 million in EU aid will be released, and PA officials hailed the move as a victory, telling Times of Israel that the funding comes “with no strings attached.”
Notably, the release of the funds coincides with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s three-day trip to the region. She is expected to meet with PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh on Tuesday.
Olivér Várhelyi, the EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, said in late 2021 that funding to the PA should only come after the PA pledged to stop using antisemitic and terror-supporting textbooks in its classrooms.
That proposal sparked a months-long internal EU debate, as some argued that financial support for the PA should be unconditional.
Maintaining the PA’s stability appears to have emerged as the EU’s priority over concerns about antisemitism, as the struggling institution continues to wane in popularity and the majority of Palestinians have expressed a preference for Islamic Jihad and Hamas as potential rulers.
Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy told EU Parliament president Roberta Metsola that the current wave of terror Israel is currently facing can be directly traced back to PA educational institutions that promote hatred of Jews.
“It starts with the textbooks in the Palestinian Authority, which erase the existence of the State of Israel; antisemitic lies about Jews are spread, and there are explicit calls for violence; it continues with the money the Palestinian Authority pays terrorists for killing innocent people, while it receives donations and large amounts of money, also from the European Union; all the way to incitement and lies that are disseminated online – supposedly that the State Israel is harming the holy sites,” he said.
“These acts and lies fan the flames, spread hatred, create an atmosphere of violence, and eventually bring about a wave of terror.
“The State of Israel expects from you, Madam President, and from all the members of the European Union, to stand by it in the face of these dangerous phenomena, which fuel terror and murder and will never allow us to bring about a solution to the conflict. You have the power to influence and [protect] the younger generation from incitement in schools that is carried out with your money.”