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UK gives £150m to PA in five years, rebuffing pressure by pro-Israel groups

Image of UK parliament [Storem/Flickr]
UK parliament [Storem/Flickr]

The UK government has given almost £150 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) over the last five years, despite significant criticism from pro-Israel groups over such funding.

According to the government, between 2012 and 2017 a total of £147.5 million was given in “direct financial aid” to the PA, to contribute to the salaries of public servants.

In the last financial year, 2016-17, the amount was £25 million.

The data was included in an answer to a written question about funding provided by the Department for International Development (DfID) to the PA over the last five financial years.

UK funding to the PA has come under sustained criticism by pro-Israel groups, including Labour Friends of Israel, the Zionist Federation and the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

In October 2016, it was incorrectly reported that the UK government had suspended aid to the PA entirely, prompting premature celebrations in some quarters.

Read: UK grants $3.9m to Israeli-Palestinian coexistence projects

As the government clarified in an answer to a separate question this week, “UK financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority is provided through a European Union mechanism”, and “pays for vetted West Bank health and education public servants”.

For some, such as former minister and Conservative Friends of Israel head, Eric Pickles, even vetted funding is unacceptable on the basis that it frees up money to be used for other purposes.

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