A Labour MP has asked the Secretary of State for International Development not to give the Palestinian Authority financial aid for health and education because it would free up other money to pay terrorists.
The argument was made in a letter to Priti Patel MP from Labour Friends of Israel supporter Ian Austin, the MP for Dudley North.
Last year, Patel announced a freeze on the UK’s £72 million in aid to Palestinian territories, after allegations were levelled at the Palestinian Authority, which was accused of using the money to pay the salaries of convicted terrorists.
Patel, herself a former vice-chair of Conservative Friends of Israel, was praised for her actions by Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev last month, and her department recently said that DFID funds would no longer go to the same account PA bank account, and that civil servants in Gaza who are unable to work will no longer get any British taxpayer money.
However, Austin said: “By meeting the PA’s need to pay health and education workers, DFID will continue to assist in enabling the PA to salaries to terrorists, through freeing up the PA’s other funds for this purpose.”
He suggested that any UK aid be tied to an “insistence” that former terrorists will no longer be paid the the PA, and said the UK could “use our financial leverage to insist upon a cessation of the incitement to, and glorification of, violence perpetuated by the PA”.
In the House of Commons on Thursday, Austin said: “I want Britain to be doing more to promote economic development, trade and investment on the West Bank,” and pushed for the “reconstruction of Gaza”.