The Government has launched a review into its funding of the Palestinian Territories, following concerns raised by numerous Conservative MPs and reports in the Daily Mail about the Palestinian Authority’s misappropriation of foreign aid from its fungible general budget to fund the salaries of Palestinian prisoners convicted of terrorism.
Secretary of State for International Development, Rt. Hon. Justine Greening MP is in charge of the review and is expected to announce its findings by the autumn, the Jewish Chronicle has reported.
A DfID spokesman said: “The Department for International Development is already undertaking a review of its programme in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as part of its Bilateral Aid Review, to consider how it can best support progress towards a negotiated two-state solution”.
CFI’s Parliamentary Chairman, Rt. Hon. Sir Eric Pickles MP, said he had discussed the review with Ms Greening. He asserted: “We don’t want to see money cut to people living under the PA but it would be much more sensible to start moving funding to something that encourages the peace process, that makes the possibility of a two-state solution more likely”.
Last week, Sir Eric sent Ms Greening a list of suggested coexistence projects for UK funding, including Save A Child’s Heart (SACH), an NGO which brings children from developing countries around the world to Israel for emergency heart surgery. Over half of the 4,000 children who have been treated are from Gaza and the West Bank.
Sir Eric said: “I have asked if we can focus more funding more on projects that are committed to peace, and less on institutions. She has been very receptive to it”.
The International Development Secretary wrote in response: “I am supportive of projects which bring together Palestinians and Israelis, and foster inter-community understanding. Going forward, my intention is for Her Majesty’s Government to do more on this agenda, and I have asked my officials to rapidly explore options”.