In order to stifle criticism of aid to the Palestinian Authority, the Swedish foreign aid department, SIDA, commissioned Professor Sune Persson to produce a report covering the fledgling PA. The result was published in 1997 - a scathing critique of how the Palestinian Authority was developing into a police state, with diverse militia ruled by Arafat.
Arafat was also accused of trying to concentrate absolute power in his own hands - and of having repeatedly vetoed potential power sharing. Extensive aid funds were said to have ended up in wrong pockets, the lack of rule of law was heavily criticised, and Palestinian society was said to function badly as a consequence.
Persson’s report recommended no further Swedish money be sent to the PA.
Not only was this recommendation ignored, but to avoid any risk of interference in the bureaucrats’ ability to flow funds to the corrupt Palestinian regime, SIDA immediately classified the report as secret – and so it remained until January 2004.
This conspiracy allowed SIDA to funnel 2 billion crowns, over a ten-year period, to a regime they KNEW to be corrupt.
Jan Bjerninger, head of the Asian department at SIDA confirms that Sweden continues to give aid – 200 million crowns per year is channelled from Sweden via many channels to the suffering parts of the Palestinian population.
Why was the report classified? – “I know nothing about it. I have no answer. I can get someone to investigate this,” says Bjerningen.
To make matters worse, it would seem that the bureaucrats even managed to hide not only the report, but even the subsidies from their Parliamentary board members and masters. Until the Brussels-based European Institute for Research on the Middle East asked for information, the parliamentary board members were unaware of payments of tens of millions of crowns to the Palestinian Negotiation Support Unit (NSU). The NSU was formed to provide ‘technical’ support for the PLO in peace negotiations. Since these negotiations ended, the NSU became a pure propaganda centre. However, SIDA continues to pour in the money.
Even The Director-General of the Foreign Aid Dept, Maria Norrfalk, says she had no idea that her own organisation was funding a PLO propaganda agency. ‘I don’t know about the NSU - I am not familiar with the issue as we have so many measures, and I cannot know all of them, but I will ask today at once for all the information concerned.’ On an extensive SIDA website is a list of a large number of beneficiaries of foreign aid - but not even a word on foreign aid to the NSU.
Politicians on all sides of the political spectrum are nervous and angry.
‘Tax-payers’ money should not be used,’ says a Liberal Party member. A Social Democrat, Bernd Ekholm, is to raise it at the next SIDA board meeting - and wants all the files. A Swedish CDU parliamentarian, adds, ‘I had no idea. Nothing was said on the board. I am very worried.’ Conservative parliamentarian, Ewa Bjorling, said, ‘This is completely unacceptable.’