UK Suspends $30 Million in Aid to Palestinian Authority

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Roughly one third of the UK’s annual aid budget to the Palestinians was frozen by the Department for International Development (DfID) after it emerged the Palestinian Authority was using the money to support terrorism despite assurances it would stop doing so.

The British government suspended the $30 million in aid it sends directly to the P.A. but will continue to fund the various other charities and agencies it supports in the disputed territories.

DfID expects to restart payments next year after an investigation which will hopefully prevent the money from being sent to terrorists.

We are not stopping for the Palestinian Authority overall, just delaying it to a date when we know our money won’t be going to people who do nothing in return for it,” a source at DfID told The Sun.

The Palestinian Authority has long continued a practice of paying full salaries to those who murdered Israeli civilians. Despite promising to cease using aid money from countries like the UK to pay those salaries, an investigation by The Mail on Sunday in March found the P.A. was funding terrorism, just through a more convoluted paper trail.

Among those receiving salaries from the P.A. for terrorism is Abdallah Barghouti, a Hamas bomb-maker who is serving 67 life sentences in Israeli prison for several high-profile bombings during the second intifada, including a nightclub bombing in 2002 that killed 66 people. He has received an estimated $150,000.

Also funded by the P.A. are Amjad and Hakim Awad, who snuck into a house in the disputed territories and slit the throats of five members of the Fogel family while they slept, including an 11 year old, a four year old and a three-month-old baby.

In 2015, the Palestinian Authority transferred control of paying prisoners to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), a secular organization which officially renounced terrorism and violence as part of the Oslo Accords in 1993. A new PLO commission was established to pay the salaries of prisoners convicted of carrying out terrorist acts. But the commission has as its head the same man who was formerly the Palestinian Authority’s Minister for Prisoner Affairs Issa Karake. Not only that but Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, retained overall control of the new commission and transferred $116 million to the PLO on establishing this commission; the same budget which was previously allocated to the Ministry of Prisoner Affairs.

We do not take issue with the British Government supporting genuine development in the Palestinian territories,” Richard Verber, the senior vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said in a statement. “However, we have long been deeply concerned by the Department for International Development’s assertion that British tax money categorically does not fund terrorism and incitement. We welcome this move and hope that a robust and thorough investigation will be carried out. We would also like to thank the Members of Parliament and media organizations who have echoed our concerns with increasing volume over the past few months.” 

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org