This week in DfID oral questions, former Northern Ireland Secretary Rt. Hon. Theresa Villiers MP raised her concerns about the UK’s aid to the Palestinians, given the PA’s continued practice of paying terrorist prisoners salaries.
The MP for Chipping Barnet welcomed the Secretary of State’s work to “ensure that UK aid to the Palestinian Authority does not directly fund payments to terrorist prisoners”, but raised her concerns about indirect funding of such payments.
Mrs Villiers asked the International Development Secretary, Rt. Hon. Priti Patel MP, to “assure the House that she is doing everything possible to ensure that they do not indirectly fund such payments by freeing up resources that would otherwise be spent on day-to-day PA activities?”
Minister of State, Rory Stewart OBE MP, told Mrs Villiers that DfID has “made it clear that our focus will be very much targeted on health, education and co-existence projects”.
He underlined that “any support going in is carefully vetted, with an independent auditor; is directed to what will provide value for money; and, above all, will benefit the Palestinian people”.
The PA continues to pay an estimated £88 million annually in salaries to convicted terrorists in Israeli prisons. It has been argued that UK aid to the PA’s general budget frees up funds for this practice.