Britain Restricts Palestinian Aid to Prevent Transfer of Money to Terrorists

Palestinian Authority employees will be individually vetted before money is transferred for their salaries; the funds will no longer support the salaries of Gaza public servants.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, October 6, 2016.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, October 6, 2016.Credit: Mohamad Torokman, Reuters
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

The government of the United Kingdom announced on Friday that it is restricting the transfer of aid to the Palestinian Authority in order to prevent the transfer of funds to terrorists who have attacked Israelis or to the families of terrorists.

The new measures will significantly reduce the volume of aid for the payment of PA salaries. In the future, the recipients of such aid will be individually vetted before the money is transferred.

The government said in a statement that aid to the PA, which this year stood at 25 million pounds sterling (120 million shekels, $31 million), would continue, but with the focus on projects that create institutions for the future Palestinian state, contribute to the stability of the West Bank and promote the two-state solution.

Provision of aid will henceforth be in compliance with a number of principles:

Firstly, U.K. support "will now focus solely on vital health and education services, in order to meet the immediate needs of the Palestinian people and maximize value for money. Funding will only go towards the salaries of health and education public servants on a vetted list. U.K. support to the PA will help to pay the salaries of up to 30,000 teachers, doctors, nurses, midwives and other essential health and education public servants on a vetted list. This will enable around 25,000 young Palestinians to get an education, provide up to 3,700 immunizations for children, and around 185,000 medical consultations annually."

Secondly, U.K. funds "will no longer be used to support the salaries of Palestinian Authority public servants in Gaza," who have not been able to work since the Hamas takeover of the strip in 2007.

Thirdly, the U.K. will insist that the PA make "fiscal and public finance management reforms" against which the PA will need to show progress in order to secure full future payments. The foreign secretary and the secretary of state for international development will need to personally approve aid to the Palestinians each year, after assessing the progress of the PA in carrying out the reforms.

About two months ago, the U.K. government suspended the transfer of some 25 million pounds sterling worth of aid to the PA, out of concern that the money was being used to pay annuities to terrorists or the families of terrorists.

The Sun newspaper quoted Priti Patel, the new secretary of state for international development, as saying that the transfer would be suspended until the conclusion of an inquiry into the issue. The new measures were the result of that inquiry.

Several members of parliament from parties on the right complained to the foreign office and Patel's office earlier this year that British taxpayers' money was being transferred as aid to the PA and from there being paid to terrorists who had conducted attacks against Israelis.

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