EU’s €24m Gaza mon­i­tor does no mon­i­tor­ing

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY NATHAN JEF­FAY

THE MOST in­ac­tive Euro­pean Union body in the Mid­dle East is hir­ing.

By its own ad­mis­sion, EUBAM has not done its spec­i­fied job for seven years: it is in charge of su­per­vis­ing a bor­der — the cross­ing be­tween Gaza and Egypt — that has been closed al­most ev­ery day since June 2007.

Nev­er­the­less, the Euro­pean Union Bor­der As­sis­tance Mis­sion at the Rafah Cross­ing Point is seek­ing a can­di­date who should “be able to pri­ori­tise and to work un­der pres­sure”. So says the advertisement to find a trans­la­tor and as­sis­tant to the head of mis­sion.

And re­mark­ably, the man­date of the mis­sion — which to date has cost EU tax­pay­ers more than 24 mil­lion eu­ros — was re­newed on Mon­day.

EUBAM’s main of­fice, where six of its eight staff work, is far from the in­ac­tive bor­der — in Tel Aviv. A sec­ond of­fice, with two em­ploy­ees, is in Gaza.

What do they do all day? Reached for com­ment, a EUBAM of­fi­cial, who asked not to be named, stressed that there is “a lot go­ing on” and “enough work for these people to work full time”. He in­sisted: “The fact that we are not re­de­ploy­ing on the Rafah bor­der does not mean we are do­ing noth­ing.”

The mis­sion has to “li­aise” with the par­ties in­volved in the dor­mant bor­der cross­ing. It is sup­posed to “as­sist the Pales­tinian Author­ity with pre­pared­ness”, in case the Ra­mal­lah-based lead­er­ship sud­denly finds the cross­ing open again. And it needs to “keep on top of the lo­gis­tics part of the mis­sion, which is in­dis­pens­able”.

In the event that Is­rael ends its beef with Ha­mas and the bor­der is opened, EUBAM aims to get the bor­der run­ning within a fort­night.

Far from be­ing awk­ward about EUBAM, the of­fi­cial was proud of its ef­fi­ciency.

It had, he pointed out, the low­est budget of all the Com­mon Se­cu­rity and De­fence Pol­icy mis­sions.

PHOTO: FLASH 90

A plas­tics fac­tory in Sderot was hit by a Ha­mas rocket last weekend

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