In October, after reports surfaced in the UK that much of the monetary aid given to the Palestinian Authority was going towards payments to terrorists and their families, the government suspended sending millions in aid pending review.
Prime Minister Theresa May mentioned this in her speech to Conservative Friends to Israel earlier this month, saying:
Let me be clear: no British taxpayers’ money will be used to make payments to terrorists or their families.
It is right that Priti Patel has called for an examination of aid spending in the Occupied Palestinian Territories to ensure that every penny is spent in the right places and in the right way.
That review is now bearing fruit, and (for now) the UK’s aid towards Palestinians has been drastically limited to specific sectors.
In a statement, the Department for International Development said it was continuing to examine UK aid to the Palestinian territories but was imposing a series of “critical changes”.
From now on, British aid will focus “solely on vital health and education services”, with funding going towards “the salaries of health and education public servants on a vetted list” only.
No more UK funding will be available to PA workers in Gaza, and Britain will assess the PA’s “fiscal and public financial management reforms” with targets set in order to secure future payments.
It is expected that British money will be used to pay salaries of up to 30,000 Palestinian teachers, doctors, nurses and midwives. The funds will be used to ensure around 25,000 Palestinian children continue their education, are immunised, and have medical consultations.
There will be up to £25m of DfID money sent to the PA in this financial year.
This is very welcome. It is way past time to end blanket aid to the Palestinian Authority with little oversight as to how the money is actually spent.
Of course, the PA is trying to make up the shortfall with aid from Arab countries who have fewer compunctions about aid. Mahmoud Abbas visited Saudi Arabia today for that purpose.
May also said in her speech:
And she [Patel] is looking at options for the UK to support co-existence projects in the region – something I know so many people in this room have called for.
Keep in mind that the PA explicitly rejects co-existence projects with Israel as “normalization.” As of earlier this year, essentially none of the UK’s aid to the region included such projects, meaning that they acceded to the PA’s bigotry in not accepting Jews as part of the region.
It looks like the UK is actually trying to do something positive in how it allocates funding to the Palestinians. Hopefully they will do the same towards UNRWA, and other nations will start to question their own aid priorities to the Palestinian Authority.
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