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Palestinian Authority

Volume 560: debated on Wednesday 13 March 2013

7. What processes are in place to ensure that non-governmental organisations in the Palestinian Authority that are funded by the UK, the EU and the UN do not promote incitement of hate. (147433)

We deplore incitement on either side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including any comments that could stir up hatred and prejudice. UK, EU and UN-funded NGOs in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are subject to rigorous due diligence assessments designed to ensure that funds are used only for legitimate development purposes.

I welcome the Minister’s answer, but in East Jerusalem last year a UN-funded Palestinian NGO performed a puppet show promoting non-smoking. This well-intentioned educational message was corrupted somewhat when the children were urged to replace cigarettes with machine guns. Will the Minister assure me that no British financial aid donations, direct or indirect, are being used to fund such propaganda?

I am aware of that puppet show, put on in a funded community centre, and I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising it. It was an utterly stupid and irresponsible way of corrupting an otherwise sensible no-smoking message. It was performed not by an NGO, but by a visiting organisation. No UK or UN funds had anything whatever to do with sanctioning this performance, and the community centre itself was angered by the content and made its own disapproval very clear.

I agree with the Minister that it is very important that we oppose all those who promote hate in the middle east. May I invite him to say that we must also stand with those human rights organisations in Israel and in Palestine that stand out against hate crimes such as the so-called price tag attacks?

It is essential that we make a stand against the incitement of hate from either side in any way. I share the hon. Gentleman’s commitment to doing so in his great understanding of this issue.