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West Bank: Overseas Aid

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 12 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much UK aid he estimates reached internally displaced people in the West Bank in each year since 1997; and what factors have slowed the distribution of aid. (209737)

There is no internationally agreed upon definition of what constitutes internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the context of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs). United Nations agencies do not systematically collect data on the multiple triggers of internal displacement (e.g. house demolition) in the OPTs nor on the size of the various IDP populations therein.

UK support to the OPTs benefits Palestinians, including IDPs, in both the West Bank, Gaza and—for refugees—also the wider region. The Department for International Development (DFID) supports the Palestinian Authority (PA) to provide services such as health and education and for on-going technical assistance to the PA in taking forward reforms. DFID also provides assistance dedicated specifically to Palestinian refugees through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). This helps UNRWA provide health, education and other services to 4.5 million Palestinian refugees in the region, including over a million refugees in Gaza and over 700,000 in the West Bank. Since 1996-97, the UK has provided nearly £295 million in assistance to the Palestinian people.

£000

Financial aid

Technical cooperation

Humanitarian assistance

Grants and other aid in kind

Total

1Total UNRWA

1996-97

1,181

2,236

50

2,681

6,148

8,140

1997-98

963

2,741

59

2,329

6,091

10,042

1998-99

5

2,914

94

2,167

5,180

3,336

1999-2000

628

3,903

0

3,459

7,990

12,737

2000-01

791

4,065

569

3,570

8,996

17,768

2001-02

218

4,186

4,567

5,557

14,528

24,209

2002-03

0

4,650

4,534

5,982

15,165

18,708

2003-04

0

5,380

0

11,461

16,841

23,646

2004-05

7,575

5,293

1,800

2,897

17,565

17,229

2005-06

10,335

3,689

0

1,034

15,058

14,985

2006-07

11,914

2,895

223

163

15,196

15,015

2007-082

48,000

15,600

Total

33,610

41,950

11,897

41,300

128,757

165,816

1 Covers support to Palestinian refugees in the OPTs, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. 2 Provisional figures.

The UK aligns its support to the PA to the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan and does not subdivide its support between Gaza and the West Bank. UNRWA generally allocates around 30 per cent. of its budget to Gaza, 16 per cent. to the West Bank and the remaining to help other Palestinian refugees in the region.

Movement and access restrictions undermine the effectiveness of humanitarian operations and impose additional costs on humanitarian agencies. The UK continues to call on Israel to ease those restrictions in order to alleviate the humanitarian situation and allow the Palestinian economy to grow. Despite the obstacles, assistance is reaching those who need it. Our funding to UNRWA supports the delivery of medical and social services, education and some food aid to social hardship cases.