Debate in Norway continues over PMW reports on PA salaries to terrorists
In Norway still more questions:
PA has special support program
for prisoners, including terrorists, in Israel
PMW reported already in 2011 about this PA program to reward terrorists. Until now, Norway's Foreign Ministry rejected this
and PMW's subsequent reportsand gave Norwegian Parliament incorrect information
"this program (i.e., payments to prisoners including terrorists)
was different from what they had previously informed Parliament?"
Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
The debate between Norway's Foreign Ministry and its Parliamentary Committee over Norway's funding of the Palestinian Authority is continuing.
Recently, Palestinian Media Watch reported that Norway's Foreign Minister, Espen Barth Eide, admitted that the Foreign Ministry had given Parliament "imprecise" information "obtained from the PA" and from PM Salam Fayyad, denying the PA's use of donor money to pay salaries to security prisoners imprisoned in Israel, among them terrorists.
PMW exposed these salary payments for the first time in 2011, but Norway's Foreign Minister had told Parliament that these payments were social welfare to the families, based on the false information supplied by the PA. The latest report on state-owned NRK TV shows the Norwegian Foreign Minister viewing PMW reports with investigative TV journalist Tormod Strand:
Click to view
However, MP Anders Anundsen, the Head of the Parliamentary Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs, stated to NRK TV that he was not satisfied with the Foreign Minister's answer, specifically questioning when the Foreign Minister became aware that it had passed on false information from the PA to Parliament:
As noted, PMW publicized the correct information in 2011 and in subsequent reports.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Eide added that they are still seeking more clarifications from the PA regarding the possibility that donor money is going to terrorists in prison:
According to Foreign Minister Eide in his letter to the Committee, the false information was sent by the PA to Norway in September 2011, following PMW's original report exposing the PA salary payments to terrorists:
Foreign Minister Eide also noted that Norway and the UK have now written and delivered an additional letter to the PA "with a series of detailed questions about the [support] program [for prisoners]."
Foreign Minister Eide stressed that he refused to accept responsibility for the PA's payments to prisoners:
PMW notes that neither Norway nor the UK has indicated what measures they will take if any following this false information supplied by the PA denying it paid salaries to terrorists. No western donors permit the PA to use their financial support for payments to terrorists.
To review how the story has been developing in Norway:
Click to see how PMW's findings generated this debate in Norway, the responses of Norwegian MPs, the Parliamentary Committee investigation if Norway is funding Palestinian terrorists, and how the Parliamentary Committee expressed dissatisfaction with the Foreign Minister's first answer.
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 transcript of the report on Norwegian NRK TV:
NRK TV reporter Tormod Strand: "Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide is now trying to clarify the issue (exposed by PMW), which [NRK TV] Evening News has brought up - the PA's financial support of Palestinian prisoners convicted of terror. At first, the [Norwegian] Foreign Ministry denied that such a program exists, but after carefully checking with Palestine, it all looks somewhat different."
Visual during above narration: NRK reporter Tormod Strand shows PMW's documentation to the Norwegian Foreign Minister.
Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide: "I certainly have not had documented that it (the money) doesn't go to people who have been convicted of terror, and information has been given (see PMW reports) that those who are [imprisoned] for many years receive more money than those [imprisoned for] less. That is precisely why we, along with the UK, have asked [the PA] for even more detailed information in a letter we recently sent the PA."
NRK TV reporter Tormod Strand: "The Foreign Minister says the PA has misinformed Norway."
Barth Eide: "[As for] the insufficient information [we] first received [from the PA], I think that is very unfortunate."
NRK TV reporter Tormod Strand: "NRK [TV]'s reports (on PMW findings) made the Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs look into the matter. The suspicion is that Parliament did not receive correct information from the Foreign Ministry. Yesterday the Committee received a new letter from the Foreign Minister. The head of the Committee is still not pleased."
MP Anders Anundsen, Head of Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs (Progress Party): "I think there are some weak points in the letter. We still don't have complete clarification about when the Foreign Ministry became aware that this program (i.e., the PA's program of payments to prisoners including terrorists) was different than what they had previously informed Parliament. This means that there is reason to consider whether we should send another letter [to the Foreign Minister] after Easter."
Click to see pdf of English translation of the Norwegian Foreign Minister's second answer to the Parliamentary Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs
Click to see pdf of English translation of the Norwegian Parliamentary Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs' answer to the Foreign Minister
Click to see pdf of English translation of the Norwegian Foreign Minister's first answer to the Parliamentary Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs