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Palestinian Authority

Volume 636: debated on Wednesday 28 February 2018

4. What steps she is taking to ensure that aid to the Palestinian Authority is not used to fund radicalisation. (904081)

United Kingdom aid to the Palestinian Authority goes only to the salaries of vetted health and education workers in the west bank. Our memorandum of understanding with the PA includes a commitment to tackling incitement. I recently urged Palestinian Ministers to remain focused on that. President Abbas recently reconfirmed his commitment to peace and rejecting violence.

I welcome the Minister’s reassurance and the Government’s commitment to peaceful co-existence projects that bring Israelis and Palestinians together. However, last year the Palestinian Authority reportedly paid more than £250 million in monthly salaries to terrorists in Israeli prisons, which is worth 7% of their budget and an astonishing 50% of their foreign aid receipts. Those salaries directly reward terrorism. Does the Minister agree that those payments are abhorrent and must cease?

We have made constant representations to Palestinian authorities about the impact of any incitement to terror and payments to terror. The Palestinian authorities are well aware of our views and opinions on this matter. That is why no UK aid money goes to support terrorism or the families.

Is the Minister aware of the 2014 initiative in which a tripartite committee was recommended, involving the Palestinians and the Israelis and chaired by the United States, to identify incitement from whichever quarter it comes and to tackle it? That was accepted by the Palestinians and the United States, but rejected by the Government of Israel. Does the Minister agree that that rejection was not in the interests of peace?

I am aware of the proposal and the possible initiative. In the region there is much need to do whatever is possible to bring people together to examine these areas. States have their own reasons why they may or may not agree to do so, but making sure there is more work on co-existence will help on this. We will therefore continue our work to make sure all parties know how important it is to resolve their issues, so that many of the things that have occupied this House over a lengthy period can be brought to a conclusion, in the interests of peace and justice.