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Palestine: UK Aid

Volume 670: debated on Wednesday 29 January 2020

9. What steps he is taking to ensure that UK aid to the Palestinians facilitates peace-building with Israel. (900471)

As my right hon. Friend knows, the UK is committed to making progress towards a negotiated two-state solution. Meanwhile, UK aid to Palestinians helps to meet immediate needs, deliver key services and promote economic development. It supports stability in the development of a capable and accountable Palestinian Authority who can act as an effective partner for peace with Israel.

UK taxpayers’ aid pays the salaries of teachers in Palestinian Authority schools, yet at least 31 official PA schools are named after terrorists who killed innocent citizens. Does the Secretary of State share my concern that the children studying in those schools are being taught that it is honourable to commit violent acts against Israelis? Does he agree that, instead of prolonging the conflict by supporting such rhetoric, we must do more to press the Palestinians to stop glorifying terrorists and to use our aid as it is meant to be used?

My right hon. Friend is right to raise this matter. We are clear with the Palestinian Authority on how we expect UK aid to be spent. Last week, I had a further meeting with the Palestinian Authority Education Minister, Professor Awartani, following our meeting in Ramallah last year. He expressed his commitment to the EU’s review of teaching materials, as well as to the PA’s own review, which will be available before the start of the academic year.

Education means hope, and we need to be careful about removing hope from the OPTs, because hope is what is preventing people from falling into the arms of those with mischievous intent for the future of that part of the world.