Norwegian MP Peter Gitmark has recently raised concern over his own government providing “indirect” financial sponsorship to the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) general budget.
Gitmark indicated that the PA uses its budget to pay salaries to terrorist-convicts in Israeli prisons, and called for a Parliamentary Scrutiny Committee to investigate the matter more scrupulously.
“After new questions have been asked, new claims have been made, we find it necessary, together with Great Britain, once more, to ask for clarifications from the PA regarding aid levels, amounts and determination of need related to this type of social aid,” he said.
The comments came after a public broadcasting television station NRK TV began airing an ongoing investigative report about the subject.
The program reported that some prisoners earn up to 18,000 kroner per month while sitting in Israeli prisons, which comes to about 3,141 USD. To put things in perspective, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May of 2009 the average monthly wage for workers in all occupations was $3,261.
In totally, NRK uncovered that Norway gives the PA about 300 million kroner ($52,628,700) a year, and directly correlated that funding to the PA’s incitement of hatred and glorification of terror.
“Palestinian children grow up learning that Jews are ‘Satan with a tail’… Adults hear that Jews are evil and not to be trusted. It is perhaps not surprising that the Palestinian hatred is growing,” the report stated. “The messenger is a [PA] government that receives large amounts of money from Norway.”
In an interview with NRK TV, Gitmark expressed further concern over these numbers.
“This is very serious and especially the fact that it almost seems to be an aid program to terror-convicted prisoners in Israel, not to mention that it increases according to the length of the sentence.”
When asked by the program’s anchor if he thinks Norwegian tax dollars are being used to fund terrorism, the MP answered, “Yes, this is an indirect form of that.”
Gitmark then went on to accuse former Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store for defending Norway’s contributions to the PA’s budget, stating that the PA payments were a form of “social welfare” to the families and not salaries—before calling for a Parliamentary Scrutiny Committee to look into the affair:
“Parliament has been informed on several occasions by then Foreign minister Jonas Gahr Store. It now appears that former Foreign Minister Store was wrong and informed the Parliament wrongly. Naturally the Parliamentary Scrutiny Committee (Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs) should examine this and check if this should have consequences in Parliament because of the bad information.”
In lieu of the allegations, the Norwegian government is one of the first European countries to be actively reassessing its untargeted aid to the Palestinian territories on the basis of recent reports of anti-Semitism by the Palestinian Media Watch, an organization that documents cases of incitement in Palestinian media.
PMW Senior Analyst Nan Jacques Zilberdik was interviewed for the NRK report and said what PMW reports “is definitely the general [PA] message.”
“We don’t provide just a few examples that we have chosen to make it look extreme,” he said. “I think that Norwegian and other leaders will be surprised to hear what the Palestinian leaders, with whom they talk about peace, say in Arabic.”
Meanwhile, NRK TV is continuing to inquire into Norway’s financial support of the PA’s budget.
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