The Secretary of State for International Development, Rt. Hon. Priti Patel MP, has confirmed that DfID aid to World Vision operations in Gaza and the West Bank has been suspended pending investigation and reiterated the UK Government’s commitment to Israel’s security, in a move welcomed by CFI.
In a letter to the Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the International Development Secretary said that she is “deeply concerned” by accusations that a senior World Vision official in Gaza has been diverting funds to Hamas and is pushing for “a rapid and thorough investigation from the Israeli authorities to establish the full details of these allegations”.
The Secretary of State said: “DFID does not provide any current funding to World Vision operations in Gaza, or in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) more widely. We understand that World Vision themselves have suspended all operations in Gaza and are undertaking a forensic audit of their Gaza operations. We have written to World Vision to inform them that we will not consider any future funding to their work in the OPTs until World Vision has completed its audit and we have had the opportunity to fully consider our position”.
She affirmed the UK Government’s “non-negotiable commitment to Israel’s security”, and said that she is taking this matter “extremely seriously”.
CFI Honorary President Lord Polak CBE welcomed the Secretary of State’s comments: “This is welcome news from the Secretary of State, we have been campaigning for many years for transparency and it is clear that DFID are taking this matter seriously. The hard working taxpayers of this country will be relieved to learn that every effort is being made to ensure that their hard earned money will not end up in the pockets of wrong people but will be helping those that are most in need”.
The full letter can be read here.