Over 5,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Government to pressure the Palestinian Authority (PA) to end its alleged “practice of paying salaries to convicted terrorists.”
The petition, addressed to International Development Secretary Alok Sharma, written by pro-Israel campaign group We Believe in Israel, urges the UK “to use its leverage as one of the major donors to the PA” to condemn this “reprehensible practice.”
“Whilst the UK does not directly fund the salaries of terrorist prisoners, it is morally unacceptable that British taxpayers’ money is being used to fund essential services and public sector salaries in the PA at the same time that the PA is wasting its own resources on rewarding terrorists,” the petition claims.
In a speech given last year to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the PA pays “$350 million a year to terrorists and their families.”
The Department for International Development provided £59m in aid to occupied territories in 2018. Israel is not eligible to receive overseas aid budget.
A spokesperson for the department said: “No UK aid is used for payments to Palestinian prisoners or their families.
“We have raised the need for reform of these payments at the highest levels of the Palestinian Authority, including when the Minister for the Middle East visited the Occupied Palestinian Territories this year.
“UK aid only goes to named public servants, including teachers and health workers, in the West Bank who have been carefully vetted. We have a rigorous process in place to ensure these payments only go to the intended recipient.”
PM Boris Johnson told Jewish News in June “I think it’s ludicrous that there should be any kind of financial incentive or compensation for terrorist activities.”