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Palestinian Territories

Volume 447: debated on Monday 12 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of whether British aid is reaching humanitarian projects in the Palestinian Territories to ensure the (a) electricity, (b) water, (c) food, (d) health and (e) educational needs of the Palestinian people are met. (75581)

The UK Government are concerned to support the basic needs of the Palestinian people. Until the Hamas-led Government renounce violence, recognise Israel's right to exist and accept previous agreements and obligations we cannot provide aid to the Palestinian Cabinet or its ministries. However, there are other ways to help Palestinians directly and we are doing all that we can to assist.

Since the Hamas Government came to power, the largest component of our assistance has been a £15 million contribution through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). UNRWA provides health, education, housing, food and jobs to approximately 40 per cent. of Palestinians who are registered refugees. This aid is getting through to people who need it most.

In addition, DFID is working closely with the European Commission and others to develop a temporary international mechanism to provide direct assistance to the Palestinian people. This will include those who are not registered as refugees and therefore do not receive help through UNRWA. Our hope is that such a mechanism will be established as soon as possible.