Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Obama Praises Abbas Leadership -- EU Condemns Abbas Squandering $2.6 Billion in Aid

Yesterday, Obama praised Abbas's leadership for peace:
I also want to point out that the Palestinian Authority has continued to try to build strong institutions in preparation for a day in which the Palestinians have their own state, and I will continue to emphasize the importance of rule of law, transparency, and effective reform so that not only do the Palestinians ultimately have a state on paper, but, more importantly, they have one that actually delivers on behalf of their people.
Unfortunately, Obama did not take the time to elaborate on the extent and type of institution-building Abbas has supposedly been up to.

In fact, the EU has a very different view of what Abbas has been up to. Actually, back in October it was reported that EU says PA 'squandered' 1.95 billion euros in aid:
Some 1.95 billion euros ($2.6 billion) in aid funds given by the European Union to the Palestinian Authority between 2008 and 2012 have been "misspent, squandered or lost to corruption," a report by the Luxembourg-based European Court of Auditors revealed over the weekend.

According to a report by Britain's Sunday Times, the report -- which has yet to be released in full -- claims that EU officials who traveled to the Gaza Strip, West Bank cities and east Jerusalem found "significant shortcomings" in the PA's management and appropriation of the funds, as well as difficulties is dealing with "high-level risks, such as corruption or funds not used for their intended purpose."
Not that these revelations should really come as a surprise to anyone.

Follow the money? Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
Photo credit: Reuters
Nor should we expect that the waste and corruption of the Abbas regime will change the pouring of funds by the EU -- let alone by the Obama administration.

But won't the Obama administration at some point have to throw in the towel and at least admit that Kerry's peace process is going nowhere?

Apparently not yet, as Obama continues to let Abbas off the hook while claiming that this "peace process" is doable.

But as Obama's prestige -- and that of the US along with it -- declines, the question is: at this point, who does Obama think he is going to convince?

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