Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Suspension of aid to the Palestinian authority

Delivered in Plenary - 26th April 2006

Mr President

I stand 150% behind the Council and Commissionís wise decision to freeze all direct budgetary aid to the Palestinian Authority led by an unreformed Hamas. I always questioned Western legitimisation and acceptance of Hamas candidates committed to armed struggle and to wiping the state of Israel off the map. I took the trouble of reading their 1988 charter, which is chillingly medieval, bigoted and steeped in incitement to anti-Semitism and support for Jihad and Sharia law.

With hindsight we should have spelt it out more clearly, as we were clearly warned by Israel at the time that Hamas candidates should not have been allowed to stand unless they foreswore terrorist violence and recognised the right of the State of Israel to exist and they were committed to the undertakings of the PLO and the agreements made by the PLO on the Oslo peace accord, with the Quartet and on the roadmap for peace.

After all, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamasís spiritual mentors in Egypt, were not allowed to stand on a platform advocating a violent overthrow of their government. Furthermore, the entire generous aid package to the Palestinian Authority was predicated on a commitment to a two-state solution, achieved by peaceful negotiations.

I personally find it abominable that the Hamas government openly supported the suicide Passover attack in Tel Aviv recently and continue to allow rocket attacks which fall indiscriminately and deliberately on civilian targets in Israel: a war crime under international law.

Lastly, you know someone by the friends they keep, and last week allegedly Osama bin Laden himself, as well as President Ahmadinejad of Iran, endorsed the Islamist agenda of Hamas in their so-called Holy War against Israel. We must therefore find ways now to bypass Hamas in the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people, perhaps through UNRWA, NGOs etc., and raise the visibility of the European Union in the process. We cannot give direct budgetary aid to an unreformed Hamas leading the Palestinian authority, that is completely unacceptable to the people who vote for me in London.