The Telegraph has reported that a UK-funded multi-million pound foreign aid project aimed at promoting Palestinian state building and peace has instead encouraged terrorism and led to an increase in violence.
The exposé, published yesterday, claimed that a £156.4 million grant from the Department for International Development (DfID) providing financial aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) resulted in civil servants being “more likely” to commit acts of terror, according to an independent evaluation by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).
The five-year aid project was found to encourage public sector employees to engage in “active conflict” as their salaries continued to be paid to their families even if they were convicted and imprisoned for criminal acts, including terrorism.
Convicted civil servants were able to return to their jobs on completing jail sentences, and could continue to draw a salary funded by the UK taxpayer as their jobs had been “kept open when they return from detention”.
The independent ODI evaluation found that DfID’s grant failed to “promote peace or peaceful attitudes”, instead appearing to lead to an increase in violence among Palestinians.
The ODI report said that DfID funds covered the salaries of 5,000 PA civil servants over five years, but the more foreign aid money spent on public sector employment, the more “conflict-related” deaths occurred.
“The study suggests that in the West Bank, an increase in the number of public sector employees is associated with an increase in Palestinian fatalities due to conflict”, the ODI report said.
The report added that “an increase in public sector employment by one per cent is associated with an increase in fatalities by 0.6% over this time period”, citing the “opportunity cost” hypothesis which holds that “conflict, and therefore fatalities, are more likely when the opportunity cost of engaging in conflict is lowered”.
“For public sector employees”, the report stated, “the opportunity cost of conflict is lowered as their employment will be kept open when they return from detention, and their family will continue to be paid their salary”.
Commenting on the report, CFI Parliamentary Chairman Sir Eric Pickles said: “Sadly, the Palestinian Authority role has deteriorated to, at best, the cheerleader to acts of violence to, at worst, the operator of a revolving door policy for terrorists”.
He continued: “British taxpayers will be shocked to learn that we are helping to fund an equal opportunity employment policy for convicted terrorists”.
CFI Honorary President, Lord Polak CBE, said that “DfID and the FCO will now need to rewrite their parliamentary answers”, following many years of campaigning for “DfID to ensure that UK taxpayers’ hard-earned money was reaching the right places and not the wrong pockets”.
The full article can be found here.