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Palestinian Authority (UK Aid)

Volume 596: debated on Wednesday 3 June 2015

Our support has enabled the Palestinian Authority to carry out state-building reforms in public financial administration and security. The international community has recognised that the PA is now ready for statehood.

I refer the House to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests.

Is the Minister aware of reports that the Palestinian Authority continues to pay convicted terrorists, and will he investigate whether UK payments are being used for that purpose?

I assure my hon. Friend that no UK payments are made for that purpose. Our support to the Palestinian Authority is paid through a World Bank-controlled trust fund to named civil servants and then independently audited.

More Palestinian civilians were killed last year than in any year since 1967, and the crisis gets worse and worse in the occupied territories, especially in Gaza. I see today that the Foreign Office has called for the Rafah crossing into Egypt to be opened, but what are Ministers doing to ensure that the goods and passenger crossings into Israel are opened? What pressure is DFID putting on the Israeli Government to do that?

We make representations at every level all the time to enable goods and services to be exported into and out of Gaza. There can be no future for Gaza until there is a complete transformation in that process, and for that to proceed, a peace process is required.