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Palestinians: Overseas Aid

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 2 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effect of the situation in Gaza on the flow of UK aid to the Palestinians; whether his Department plans to resume direct funding to the Palestinian Authority; and if he will make a statement. (196807)

The Department for International Development (DFID) funds public services and humanitarian support in both the West Bank and Gaza. UK contributions to the European Commission’s PEGASE mechanism help to provide allowances to 77,000 key workers such as doctors and nurses as well as engineers working to keep Gaza’s power supply operational. In addition DFID provided £3 million to the Palestinian Authority (PA) to help pay its private sector debts, directly benefiting firms in Gaza as well as in the West Bank. Financial support of this kind is one way of getting aid directly to the people of Gaza.

DFID’s humanitarian support to Gaza is channelled through major humanitarian agencies such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) that are still able to operate in Gaza. I recently announced a further £2 million through the ICRC.

Concerning support to the Palestinian Authority for both Gaza and the West Bank I refer to the statement I made to the House today in which I announced a £20 million contribution to the Palestinian Authority through a new multi-donor mechanism managed by the World Bank.