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Middle East

Volume 456: debated on Thursday 1 February 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the operation of the Temporary International Mechanism to Deliver Assistance to the Palestinian People; and whether decisions have been made about enlarging the mechanism. (112533)

The UK Government are extremely concerned about the humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory. We are committed to helping the Palestinian people through the EU-led Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) and other projects. The causes of the deteriorating humanitarian situation include the conflict with Israel and among Palestinians; an economic downturn due to movement and access restrictions and the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) fiscal crisis, which has meant it has been unable to pay salaries.

The TIM has been delivering on the ground since July 2006. DFID has pledged up to £12 million through the TIM of which £9.7 million has been disbursed: £3 million for essential health supplies; £3 million for water, sanitation and electricity; and £3.7 million for people who have suffered a severe loss in income such as teachers, hospital workers and pensioners.

The TIM has been extended by the Quartet (EU, US, Russia, UN) twice, most recently in late December for three months. Following this decision, the EU has agreed to increase the number of recipients, while maintaining the rigorous auditing procedures that have been applied so far.