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Eu suicide bombers { May 6 2002 }

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EU Denies Aid Funded Suicide Bombers

By Constant Brand
Associated Press Writer
Monday, May 6, 2002; 9:16 AM

BRUSSELS, Belgium The European Union's head office issued a strong denial Monday to Israeli claims that millions of dollars of aid to the government of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat were used to fund suicide bombers.

A report by the Israeli government made public on Sunday alleged EU aid money was being used to pay the salaries of hundreds of extremists.

EU spokesman Gunnar Wiegand told reporters the aid, which totals $337 million over the past two years, was being spent on civilian purposes only.

"The allegations made by the government of Israel are serious," Wiegand said, adding that the EU closely monitored where the money went and what it was used for.

Israeli Cabinet Minister Dan Naveh said some $9 million in EU aid was "used indirectly to finance terrorist acts."

Wiegand said that the Israeli claims lacked evidence adding that the EU would be open to investigate such allegations "as soon as Israel provides documentary evidence and shares it with us."

"The European Commission has imposed very stringent conditionalities throughout its programs and assistance it provides," Wiegand said. "The money essentially serves to support education ... and other essential services."

Wiegand said that EU auditors and specialists from the International Monetary Fund checked all money going toward Palestinian projects to ensure it was being used properly.

"This takes place every month and we do not send money until we get the green light," he said.

Israel presented a 91-page report ahead of a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and President Bush in Washington on Tuesday to prove that Arafat was personally involved in terrorism.

Sharon hopes to persuade Bush and other world leaders that Arafat is a terrorist and should be excluded from future Middle East peace talks.

Relations between Sharon and the 15-nation EU have soured as Israeli forces destroyed millions of dollars in EU-funded projects in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The EU sent a letter of complaint to the Israeli government claiming that it was responsible for $17 million in damage to Palestinian Authority projects.

Damaged projects listed in the EU letter of Feb. 4 included Gaza airport, an irrigation system for Jericho and the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics.

Wiegand said the Israeli government had yet to give a "clear answer" to the complaint, and appealed to Israel not to further its offensive in destroying more infrastructure. He said further EU aid to rebuild damaged projects would have to have a guarantee from both Palestinians and Israelis not to funnel funds elsewhere or destroy projects.

Since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994, the EU has poured some $3.12 billion into Palestinian projects and infrastructure.

2002 The Associated Press

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Eu suicide bombers { May 6 2002 }
Fbi sent money to hamas { October 7 2003 }
Foreigners suicide bombers { May 13 2002 }
Hamas origins
Hamas tied to israel { June 24 2002 }
Invoke suicide bombers { January 24 2003 }
Israeli war museum aims to shock { June 15 2004 }
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