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Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 1 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the temporary international mechanism for aid for Palestine. (98344)

Following the Hamas victory in the Palestinian Legislative Council elections in January this year, the Quartet (US, EU, UN and Russia) set out three principles for support to the Palestinian Government to continue. These were that the Palestinian Government should renounce violence, recognise Israel and accept previous agreements and obligations, including the Roadmap.

In the light of the Hamas government’s failure to meet these conditions, the European Union has set up a Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) to provide direct support to the Palestinian people. This mechanism avoids channelling funds through the Palestinian Government. DFID intends to contribute up to £12 million to the TIM, of which £9 million has so far been committed to specific programmes. The European Community is contributing €121.5 million. Other European donors are also contributing. A total of €70.5 million has so far been disbursed through the TIM.

The TIM is providing several types of direct support. Since it was established 97,000 Palestinians have received needs-based allowances. These allowances have supported health care workers, teachers and the most vulnerable citizens in Palestinian society. Over 2.4 million litres of fuel have been provided for emergency generators at water pumping stations, waste water facilities, hospitals and health centres in Gaza. This has enabled essential services to continue after damage to Gaza’s only power station in an Israeli air strike. DFID funding is contributing to allowances for poor Palestinians, health supplies, and to repair, maintenance and running costs for electricity, water and sanitation services.