The European Union is worried that its investments of billions of euros for the Palestinian Authority to become a new Arab country within Israel’s borders will go to waste if the American-mediated diplomatic process flops.
The EU’s budget for the PA this year is equivalent to about $370 million, and the PA is the largest recipient of EU foreign aid, having received billions of euros over the years. Hundreds of new Arab villages have sprung up throughout Judea and Samaria, and some of the foreign aid is distributed to PA Arabs to take over Jewish farms.
EU officials are wondering what will happen to its investment if the “proximity talks” undertaken by the United States fail. “If at the end of the day we don't have a state, then what are we doing with the money?" asked Christian Berger, the EU's representative in Jerusalem, quoted by Reuters.
PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is asking a visiting EU delegation for more money to cover a deficit, despite massive aid that has left the PA a virtual welfare state.
Fayyad previously has stated that his strategy is to turn to the United Nations to recognize the PA as an independent country if Israel does not agree to all of the demands stated in the 2002 Saudi Arabia Initiative. The plan calls for Israel to withdraw from all areas restored to the Jewish State in the 1967 Six-Day War, including the Temple Mount site and the Western Wall (Kotel). Approximately 600,000 Jews, or nearly 10 percent of the nation’s Jewish population, live in areas that the EU does not recognize as being under Israeli sovereignty.
At least seven European nations in the 27-member EU already have recognized the PA as a country and host PA embassies in their countries.