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The JC Leader, March 2nd - Aid transparency

    Joan Ryan MP
    Joan Ryan MP

    Over the course of the next three years, British taxpayers are due to hand over £125m in aid to the Palestinian Authority.

    Much of that is money well spent. But much of it is not. As Joan Ryan and Ian Austin write this week, it seems increasingly clear that ministers are asleep at the wheel.

    We know from the PA’s own figures that it spent seven per cent of its budget last year on payments to terrorist prisoners in Israel and the families of so-called “martyrs”.

    But despite repeated attempts by Ms Ryan and Mr Austin to get the Department for International Development to release details of its compliance reviews, so that we can be sure that no British aid ends up being given to support terrorists, ministers refuse to co-operate. They refuse even to answer whether or not they have questioned the PA about its repeated glorification of terrorism.

    It is no good simply asserting that no British aid goes to terrorists. It doesn’t have to be direct funding for us nonetheless to be complicit; by plugging other spending gaps, it makes available money that allows the PA to finance its summer camps, its hate propaganda and its salaries to terrorists and their families.

    Where transparency should be the watchword, all DfID offers is obfuscation and sophistry. Under Priti Patel and now her successor, Penny Mordaunt, the government has talked a good game of understanding the issues surrounding aid to the PA. But, in practice, by refusing to answer basic questions, it has behaved as if it has something to hide. To which the only logical response is to assume that it has.

     

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