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House of Commons Hansard
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Palestinian-Israeli Co-existence Projects
29 June 2016
Volume 612
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5. What support her Department provides to projects facilitating peaceful co-existence between Palestinians and Israelis. [905512]

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We support projects that bring Palestinians and Israelis together, to which end we have made provision for funding through our conflict, security and stability fund to support co-existence projects, but I am keen to identify what more we can do.

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As I am asking my question in slot No. 5, which would have been taken by Jo Cox, may I, too, add my tribute to her excellent work in this area? Why do my right hon. Friend and his Department think that it is a good use of taxpayers’ money to continue to support the Palestinian Authority?

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I agree with my hon. Friend about Jo Cox. The reason we think it is a good idea to support the Palestinian Authority is that they deliver essential public services, not least healthcare and the education of 770,000 pupils. I believe that it is in our national interest to build up Palestinian institutions so that in a future Palestinian state, they can be reliable and effective partners for peace.

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I endorse the tributes that have been made to the work of Jo Cox for peace and justice in Israel and Palestine. Will the Minister join me in recognising the contribution to peaceful co-existence of Israelis who speak uncomfortable truths, whether that be the Mayor of Tel Aviv speaking out against occupation, the veterans of Breaking the Silence speaking out against the reality of occupation, or Peace Now mapping settlements that are undermining the chances of a two-state solution?

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Yes, and I am concerned about any potential closing of space for non-governmental organisations.

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I will call the hon. Member for Harrow East (Bob Blackman) if he undertakes to ask a single, short-sentence question.

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Has my right hon. Friend examined Save a Child’s Heart, an initiative by the Israeli Government to treat Palestinian children and save their lives?

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Yes, I hosted a delegation of Members from across the House who brought this excellent organisation to my attention recently, and my officials are conducting due diligence.