PA leader  Mahmoud Abbas.

PA leader Mahmoud Abbas.

by Stephen Oryszczuk

Tory MPs are asking the British government to look again at the funding it gives to the Palestinian Authority, after Israel-based activists said the money was still going to convicted terrorists.

Guto Bebb, James Morris and Andrew Percy, all of whom have visited the Jewish state with Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) in recent years, heard lobbyists accuse the Palestinian leadership of “deceiving” the UK.

Guto Bebb, James Morris and Andrew Percy

Guto Bebb, James Morris and Andrew Percy

In the last five years, the Department for International Development (DfID) has given the Palestinian territories around £130million in aid, some of which has been given to those convicted of crimes against Israelis.

The MPs’ intervention followed a visit from Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch, who said that over 5,000 Palestinian terrorists could be drawing salaries and bonuses.

In a joint statement Bebb, Morris and Percy said: “British taxpayers will be appalled to discover that the PA is handing their hard-earned money to convicted Palestinian terrorists.

“The PA should be strongly condemned for deceiving well-intentioned donor countries into thinking that it had ended this shocking practice.

“The British government must seriously reconsider its provision of aid to the PA’s general budget until it ceases this abhorrent practice of financially rewarding and incentivising terrorism.”

In recent years both the West Bank and Gaza suffer from high unemployment, elevated poverty rates and a sharp contraction of the private sector that had relied primarily on export markets.

Egyptian authorities began a crackdown on Gaza’s extensive tunnel-based smuggling network in 2013, creating fuel, construction material, and consumer goods shortages in the coastal strip.

In addition, Israel’s military operation in Gaza last year destroyed 20 percent of the territory’s industrial infrastructure, displaced more than 100,000 people and left almost a third of households without access to water.