From the EU-BAM webpage:
The European Union Border Assistance Mission at the Rafah Crossing Point – code name EUBAM Rafah – was launched on 24 November 2005, to monitor the operations of the border crossing point between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, after Israel and the Palestinian Authority concluded an Agreement on Movement and Access on 15 November 2005. The Council of the European Union welcomed the Agreement and approved that the EU should undertake the third-party role proposed.
The operational phase of the mission began on 30 November 2005. The Rafah Crossing Point was last opened with the presence of EUBAM monitors on 9 June 2007. … [when Hamas took over Gaza – EoZ.] Since then, the mission has remained on standby, awaiting a political solution and ready to re-engage at very short notice.
For nearly ten years, the members of the EUBAM have been doing, literally, nothing. There is nothing on the horizon to indicate that the PA will take over control of the Rafah crossings from Hamas. Egypt is more frightened of Gazans and Gaza weapons going to Egypt than Israel is of smuggled weapons into Gaza from Egypt since Egypt cracked down on smuggling.
The Council …extended the mandate of EU BAM Rafah until 30 June 2017….The mission maintains readiness to redeploy to the Rafah crossing point once the political and security situation allows. Natalina Cea has been Head of Mission since 1 July 2015. The mission’s budget for the period between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2017 amounts to € 1.54 million.
€1.54 million every year to keep people on call for something that will never happen! The mission has existed for nearly 12 years, of which 10 have been doing exactly nothing.
This isn’t the only useless EU organization on permanent assignment in the PA. The EU police mission for the Palestinian Territories spend over €10 million a year in order to help the PA learn how to run a functioning criminal justice system since 2006. And as far as I can tell from Palestinian media, there are extraordinarily few cases that actually make it to Palestinian court, after over 10 years of EU mentoring and oversight.
But in both these cases, the EU doesn’t want to admit that it was throwing money away, so it continues to throw good money after bad and pretending that it is making a difference. Unless someone starts asking why the EU auditors aren’t looking for results from these missions, they will continue to waste money – and incidentally continue to infantilize the Palestinians by telling them that 25 years after Oslo, they still don’t know how to build their own institutions by themselves.
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