From the website for the EUBAM EU Border Assistance Mission in Rafah (my emphasis):
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. A total of nearly 450 000 passengers used the crossing before that date, with an average of about 1 500 people a day. Since then, the mission has remained on standby, awaiting a political solution and ready to re-engage at very short notice.
After 9 years on the edge of their seats, they’ve just had their budget for sitting around “ready to re-engage at very short notice” increased.
Just to reinforce the wisdom of the UK voting out of the EU, it appears the UK is giving money to the EU to pay for “EU Monitors” on the Gaza-Egypt border who haven’t been there since 2007. They sit in an office in Tel Aviv. Not only are they paying for a non-existent “sleeping beauty”, the budget is actually growing!
They’ve got a smart logo though.
Writing on Facebook, former Ha’aretz journalist, Matthew Kalman posts this bombshell. I hope someone else in the media is going to look into this in greater depth, because it sounds astonishing!
UK OKs BIGGER BUDGET FOR EU’S GAZA “SLEEPING BEAUTY”
- EU Monitors left Gaza-Egypt border in 2007 and never returned
- Budget for Tel Aviv office and staff has grown by 64% since 2014
WHEN BRITISH VOTERS decided on Thursday to quit the European Union, this type of staggering bureaucratic waste might have been on their minds: The EU plans this week to increase funding for a mission created in 2005 to monitor the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt even though it left its post nearly a decade ago.
The mandate of the EU Border Assistance Mission for the Rafah Crossing Point (EUBAM) will be extended on June 30 for 12 months. Its budget will be increased to 1.545 million euros ($1.76 million), said mission spokesman Jonathan Crickx. That’s up from 1.27 million euros last year and 940,000 euros in 2014.
The UK agreed to the increased funds last week and committed to provide its share of the budget. There has been no public announcement on the matter.
The mission was set up under a U.S.-brokered agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority following the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. At its height, it employed 81 staff from 16 different countries, since reduced to nine employees.
The mission was suspended in June 2007, after Hamas seized control of Gaza. The headquarters were relocated to Ashkelon and then to Tel Aviv, with a field office in Gaza City. Several countries stopped funding the dormant project. The UK continues to contribute hundreds of thousands of pounds a year.
“EUBAM is currently on stand-by and not operating actively at this stage due to the continued closure of the Rafah crossing point,” said Virginie Battu-Henriksson, an EU spokesperson. “Member states however consider that it is important that EUBAM Rafah maintains readiness to return to the Rafah crossing point once the political and security situation allows it. All missions send in regular reports, including strategic reviews on the basis of which decisions to extend mandates are taken. The budget of civilian missions is covered by the EU common budget.”