In a late-night development, the European Commission has reversed its earlier announcement of an immediate suspension of payments to support the Palestinian population. Instead, they have stated that this assistance will be “expeditiously reviewed” in light of recent terrorist attacks by Hamas on Israel, ensuring that the funds have not been misused. This information comes from The Associated Press (AP).
“At this moment, there will be no suspension of payments,” reads the European Commission’s statement, released approximately five hours after European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, declared that all payments from the development program for Palestinians would be “immediately suspended.”
The European Commission has initiated an “urgent review of EU aid for Palestine.” The statement further underscores that the aim of this review is to ensure that EU funding does not indirectly enable terrorist organizations to carry out attacks against Israel, as reported by AP.
The EU asserts that it has already implemented stringent rules to scrutinize recipients and ensure that no such funds are provided to terrorists. “The (European Commission) will assess whether, given the changed circumstances, it is necessary to adapt (programs) supporting the Palestinian population and the Palestinian Authority,” states the Commission in its report.
Criticism of Várhelyi The European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, faced criticism, with figures like EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell emphasizing that the suspension of payments would “punish all Palestinians, harm EU interests in the region, and further embolden terrorists.”
As reported by Al Jazeera, Várhelyi’s announcement took Spain, Ireland, and Luxembourg by surprise. These countries expressed their disagreement, and their critics, along with Borrell, accused the EU of penalizing all Palestinians for Hamas’s terrorist attack on Saturday.
“Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares called European Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi to convey that he disagrees with this decision,” stated the Spanish Foreign Ministry.
In Madrid and Barcelona, several pro-Palestinian demonstrations have already taken place, celebrating Hamas’s terrorist attack in Israel as a triumph in the struggle for liberation. The attacks claimed the lives of approximately 900 Israelis, marking the highest number of Jews killed in a single day since the Holocaust.
“We assume that there is no legal basis for such a unilateral decision by an individual commissioner, and we do not support the suspension of aid,” said the spokesperson for the Irish Foreign Ministry.
Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister, Jean Asselborn, also noted that his government did not support the suspension of aid.
Austria and Germany Halt Payments Austria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alexander Schallenberg, expressed the gravity of the situation, stating, “The dimension of terror is terrible. It is such a turning point that we cannot leave things as they were.” Austria has thus temporarily suspended funding for Palestinian development aid and will review all projects, with planned expenditures of approximately 19 million euros (around 465 million Czech korunas).
Germany has taken a similar approach. The spokesperson for the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development confirmed, “Yes, payments are temporarily suspended at this moment. We will wait for the results of the review.”