Voice of the Jewish News: From taxpayers to the terrorists

Voice of the Jewish News: From taxpayers to the terrorists

This week's editorial focuses on the freezing of funding to the Palestinian Authority over alleged terror payments

Hamas fighters
Hamas fighters

It feels strange to celebrate the government’s decision to freeze funding to the Palestinian Authority, because – like so many things – it is not black and white.

It is obviously bad that British taxpayers’ money pays convicted Palestinian terrorists (if it does), so it is obviously good that this has now stopped, pending an investigation. The decision to do so seems a little late in coming, but we welcome the new International Development Secretary’s choice to bite the bullet and launch an immediate inquiry.

The idea that welfare payments to Palestinian convicts actually rise if that convict has killed Israelis is odious, to say the least.

But it is equally obvious that it is never good when millions of pounds in aid money suddenly stops flowing into one of the world’s poorest regions. Nobody doubts that the vast majority of Palestinian recipients need it, nor that they did anything harmful to be denied it. The British Jewish community’s quarrel is not with them. It is with the PLO’s apparent system of encouraging and rewarding acts of terror with higher payments made up of aid money.

Before the cash flows again, there are grey areas to consider. For instance, while the money should never go to the terrorist, could it go to the terrorist’s young family, if that family did nothing wrong? Is it right to punish the convict’s children to punish the convict? It is morally uncomfortable, just as it is to demolish the houses of terrorists’ families. There are arguments on both sides.

The British government must quickly find the answers to these questions, before communicating them to the PLO, building in better checks in the West Bank and Gaza, and concluding the process as soon as possible, so innocent Palestinians do not suffer too much as a result.

Terrorists have already caused more than enough suffering to go around.

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