UK pays for ‘terrorist’ daughter’s education
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UK pays for ‘terrorist’ daughter’s education

Statistics, released by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), show 27 Palestinians are currently studying in this country

Ahmad Qatamesh
Ahmad Qatamesh

The government has sponsored more than 300 Palestinians to study in the UK – including the daughter of a man accused of being a terror ist leader.

The statistics, released by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), show 27 Palestinians are currently studying in this country, including 11 from the Gaza Strip, but among recent alumni is Haneen Qatamesh, whose father Ahmed spent years in jail.

He was first imprisoned in 1992 and held under administrative detention for six years, a record period, accused of being a leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a group best known for hijacking and attacking Israeli aircraft.

The Israeli security service Shin Bet accused him of instigating attacks against Israelis, but Qatamesh’s lawyer said his client was “a writer and politician” engaged  in a non-violent  struggle against Israeli occupation.

Qatamesh was arrested again in 2011 and then again in 2017, a year after his daughter came to the UK to study under the Chevening Scholarship Programme, which costs the government almost £60 million per year.

In a Chevening blog from 2016, she said she wanted to use her UK studies to take
“a proactive role in developing the education sector and implement projects that will grant Palestinian youth’s development as well as restoring hope in a better future”.

However five years earlier, in an article for Electronic Intifada, she called Israelis “criminals” who “steal land”, adding: “I will continue to dream of Palestinian freedom. Along the way, I will continue to expose the brutality of Israel’s occupation.”

Qatamesh described how Israeli soldiers had come looking for her father, “invaded my home, held hostages all those present and forced me at gunpoint to call my father… This is standard operating procedure for Israeli occupation forces”.

The student figures were released by an FCO spokeswoman last week and shed new light on the Chevening Programme, which is designed to build relations with “future leaders”.

The department said the objective of Chevening was “to support foreign policy priorities and achieve FCO objectives by creating lasting positive relationships with future leaders, influencers, and decision-makers”.

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