A report has claimed that funding from the British government to the Palestinian Authority (PA) is enabling the PA to make payments to convicted terrorists as a reward for their actions and is consequently making terrorist acts “more likely”.
The Department for International Development (DfID) gave a £156.4 million grant to the PA that was earmarked for increasing Palestinian state-building efforts. The Telegraph this morning covers a report by the Overseas Development Institute, which says that the amount is enough to employ five thousand PA civil servants over five years. However, the report concluded that this sum made terror acts “more likely” as it acts as a ‘safety net’ for those who undertake violent acts. The report said that: “An increase in public sector employment by one per cent is associated with an increase in fatalities by 0.6% over this time period.”
The 2004 Palestinian Law of the Prisoner mandates that those convicted of terror offences, classed by the PA as “resisting the occupation” are immediately placed on the PA payroll. This amounted to around £60 million in 2013, including bonuses on release. The scheme involves a sliding scale whereby more money is paid in proportion to the seriousness of the offence.
Consequently, the Overseas Development Institute report said:“For [PA] public sector employees, the opportunity cost of conflict is lowered as their employment will be kept open when they return from detention, and their family will continue to be paid their salary.”
The report comes on the eve of a House of Commons debate on foreign aid spending, which is scheduled for today. Conservative MP Sir Eric Pickles commented: “British taxpayers will be shocked to learn that we are helping to fund an equal opportunity employment policy for convicted terrorists.”
Meanwhile, Joan Ryan MP, chair of Labour Friends of Israel, said an independent inquiry is needed to “ensure that taxpayers’ money assists the process of building peace and coexistence rather than ending up in the pockets of convicted terrorists”.