Norway admits aid money may have gone to Palestinian murderers

(JTA) — The Palestinian Authority misled Oslo when it claimed Norwegian aid money was not used to reward the murderers of Israelis, Norway’s foreign minister said.

Espen Barth Eide said Monday in a statement that “it is unfortunate that the incorrect information obtained from the Palestinian Authority was communicated to the Parliament.” The statement was quoted in an article by the daily Dagen.

Anders Anundsen, a lawmaker for the Progress Party, said the government has long claimed that Norwegian aid did not go to Palestinians who are incarcerated in Israeli jails for murders and terrorist activities. The Palestinian Authority has pledged monthly payments to Palestinian prisoners in Israel since 2003 and raised payments by as much as 300 percent in 2011, according to Israel’s Channel 2 television network. 

Eide’s statement came after the ministry received new information that revealed “major difference to what we have assumed, according to earlier information we received from the P.A.,” the minister’s statement said.

Norway’s foreign ministry brought up the subject last week during a meeting between its representatives and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, according to Eide. 

"In this meeting we also took up the dispensation and the level of subsidy for the prisoners, and we clearly expressed that we found this to be problematic," Eide said. "We also noted the new information on this issue differs from earlier information provided by the P.A. We also stated that we find this unfortunate.”

Eide said the ministry was waiting for clarifications from Ramallah.

Norwegian aid to the Palestinian Authority came under public scrutiny in Norway last month following a documentary by the NRK public broadcaster showing that aid went to inciting hate against Israel.

Norway, one of the Palestinians’ strongest supporters in Europe, has contributed more than $50 million a year to the Palestinian Authority since 2008.

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