Parliamentary Committee not satisfied
with Foreign Minister's answer
"...which other investigations and quality control
of information [received] from the PA,
[did] the Foreign Ministry perform[ed],"
Committee asks in new letter
by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
In Norway the debate over the country's aid to the PA and the question whether the Norwegian Foreign Ministry has misinformed Parliament continues.
In a new letter, the Parliamentary Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs has asked the Norwegian Foreign Ministry what it did to corroborate the information it received from the PA in 2011. Last month, the Foreign Ministry acknowledged that the information from the PA which it passed on to Parliament was "incorrect".
The Committee asked "which other investigations and quality control of information [received] from the PA, the Foreign Ministry performed before [it] received the information from the Norwegian Representative Office [in the PA] on Sept. 5, 2011."
The Committee's reference to the date Sept. 5, 2011, refers to the day the PA supplied incorrect information to the Norwegian Representative Office. The Norwegian Foreign Minister, Espen Barth Eide, called the information supplied by the PA "imprecise." [March 11, 2013]
As regards the Committee's question to the Foreign Ministry about verification of the PA's information before presenting it to MPs, Palestinian Media Watch notes that whereas the PA's incorrect information was supplied to the Norwegian Foreign Ministry in response to PMW's report on PA payment of salaries to prisoners, the Foreign Ministry never once has turned to PMW for clarification or elaboration of our reports and their sources.
Click to see PDF of the English translation of the Committee's second letter
To review how the story has been developing in Norway:
Click to see PMW's findings generated this debate in Norway, the responses of Norwegian MPs, the Parliamentary Committee investigation questioning why the Foreign Ministry did not give the correct information to parliament earlier.
Click to see how the Parliamentary Committee expressed dissatisfaction with the Foreign Minister's first answer, and how the Foreign Minister in his second letter admitted that the PA has special support program for prisoners, including terrorists, in Israel.
Click to see the UK Parliament debate of PMW's findings about PA hate incitement and UK's funding of the PA.
The following is the newest letter from the Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs to the Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide:
Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs
Date: 02.04.2013 Our ref.:
Your Date: Your ref.:
(To:) Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide, Ministry of Foreign Affairs...
Re.: The [Norwegian] Foreign Ministry's financial contributions to the Palestinian Authority
The Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs refers to the letter of March 19, 2013 and to previous correspondence on the matter.
The Committee would like to know which other investigations and quality control of information [received] from the PA, the Foreign Ministry performed before [it] received the information from the Norwegian Representative Office [in the PA] on Sept. 5, 2011.
PMW note: The Committee's reference to the date Sept. 5, 2011, refers to the day the PA supplied incorrect information to the Norwegian Representative Office.
In his letter to the Committee of March 11, 2013, the Norwegian Foreign Minister, Espen Barth Eide, called the information supplied by the PA "imprecise." In an interview on Norwegian state-owned TV, NRK, he stated that it was "very unfortunate" that Norway had received "insufficient information... from the PA." In his second letter, of March 19, 2013, he stated that:
"Information that the Norwegian Representative Office [in the PA] obtained from the PA Finance Ministry on Sept. 5, 2011 showed that the support program was the same for Palestinian prisoners in both Palestinian and Israeli prisons. In February 2013, it became apparent that prisoners in Palestinian jails are not included in the same program, but that their families only receive ordinary social support. In other words, the PA has a special [support] program for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails."
The Minister continued that "the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has... made it clear to the PA that we find aspects of the support program problematic."
[The Ministry] is also asked to inform [the Committee] when the Committee can expect an answer [from the Foreign Ministry] with additional information, in reference to a previous letter [in which the Foreign Minister] stated that the Foreign Ministry has requested a further explanation from the PA.
The Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs
Head of Committee