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EU frees funding for Palestinians held up over textbook reforms

The European Commission has voted to release long-delayed funding for the Palestinian Authority, after months in which hundreds of millions of euros were held up in a fight over whether to condition the money on reforms to PA textbooks, three sources tell The Times of Israel.

A vote was held earlier today in the European Commission to release the aid — reportedly about $220 million — to the PA. EU Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi had proposed conditioning some of the money on reforms to Palestinian textbooks to remove alleged incitement, sparking a months-long battle in Brussels as officials argued for and against.

Palestinian officials say the funding was ultimately released without any conditions whatsoever. But the vote’s results are not yet public, and the EU’s envoy to the Palestinians declined to comment.

Earlier this afternoon, EU spokesperson Ana Pisonero said a final decision on the matter would be soon in coming.

“We aim to finalize the procedure shortly and once finalized the funds will be released as soon as possible,” EU spokesperson Ana Pisonero said.

PA textbooks have long been a subject of controversy. Watchdogs have slammed the curricula for allegedly promoting violence and glorifying terrorism. The PA defends them as a faithful reflection of their national narrative.

The decision to release the funding comes as EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen begins a three-day visit to Israel and the Palestinians. She is set to meet with PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh Tuesday in Ramallah.

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