The study, “Supporting a two-state solution: effective UK policy to boost Israel-Palestinian relations”, by Israel and Middle East think-tank Bicom, is based on interviews with current and former British and Israeli officials involved in the Middle East.
It contains in-depth recommendations as to how the British government can support a two-state solution, including expanding funding to train Palestinian Security Forces.
The report cites Britain’s expansive aid budget, security expertise and network of allies across the region as reasons why the Government is in an ideal position to play a key role in Israeli-Palestinian relations.
It highlights the UK Government’s spend of £422m on aid to the Palestinian Authority between 2011 and 2016, while in 2016-2017 the Department for International Development allocated £68.5m for eight projects that support the UK’s Middle East Peace Process Policy. The report details how this funding and expertise have already made a very significant contribution to training the PA security forces. For example, PA Security Forces now work hand in hand with their Israeli counterparts to prevent and arrest terrorist suspects in the West Bank and combat the ongoing threat from Hamas and Salafi jihadist groups. It concludes that this work should continue and be expanded. The research also found large sums of UK aid are invested in Palestinian schools where young children can become radicalised. The report recommends that the UK Government should do everything in its power to ensure high standards of teaching and prevent radicalisation.
Bicom’s chief executive James Sorene said: “Britain is a very generous aid donor to the Palestinian Authority and large sums of UK taxpayers money is spent on Palestinian education. This should be a positive investment in the future of young Palestinians but far too often Palestinian schools normalise terrorism and radicalise children. The UK has world-class expertise in school standards and inspections, more can and should be done to prevent extremism and promote dialogue.”