International Development Secretary, Rt. Hon. Priti Patel MP, confirmed in DfID Questions in the House of Commons yesterday that the Government is committed to “working on a range of coexistence programmes” in Israel and the Palestinian Territories to “support tangible improvements”.
She said that “the programme is now in its final design phase and will be launched at the beginning of the financial year”.
The International Development Secretary’s comments came in response to a question by Conservative MP Graham Evans, who asked: “The Secretary of State has previously said that she is looking at allocating DFID funding to peaceful coexistence projects, including Save a Child’s Heart, whose valuable work brings Palestinians and Israelis together. Can she update the House on that very worthy project?”
In a separate response to a question from Labour MP Ian Austin regarding coexistence projects, Ms Patel said that coexistence programmes “will not just drive the right values, but help to bring the two communities together in a very constructive way”.
She added: “This is in addition to our focus on targeted spending on public schemes such as health and education programmes within the region”.
International Development Minister Rory Stewart OBE MP underlined in his response to a question from Ulster Unionist Party MP Danny Kinahan, that protecting Israel’s security is “absolutely essential”.
Mr Stewart said: “The only long-term stability in that region requires protecting the security of Israel as an absolutely essential plank, along with guaranteeing an autonomous, independent Palestinian state”.
Click here to read the full exchange.