Pro-Israel lobby groups in Westminster have begun 2019 with fresh attacks on UK government funding for both the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Palestine refugee agency UNRWA.
MP Louise Ellman, vice-chair of Labour Friends of Israel (LFI), introduced her International Development Assistance (Values Promoted in Palestinian National Authority Schools) Bill to the Commons yesterday.
Ellman attacked British funding for PA schools, which she accused of promoting “incitement”.
“Ministers have been repeatedly asked to suspend all aid to the PA which directly or indirectly finances those teaching and implementing this curriculum until fundamental changes are made,” Ellman stated. “They have refused to do so. It is now time to require them to act.”
Conservative Friends of Israel, meanwhile, have written to the International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt to demand “a firmer approach” to UNRWA.
The group claimed that the refugee agency is being “exploited for terror activities” and questioned the government’s decision to support UNRWA “unconditionally in its existing format,” mirroring language used recently by the Trump administration.
Last month, the UK announced an additional £5 million ($6.4 million) in emergency funding for UNWRA’s activities in the occupied Gaza Strip, after a US withdrawal of funding “threatened its ability to provide basic humanitarian services”.
The letter also attacked the very definition of a Palestinian refugee, echoing the Israeli government’s long-standing attacks on Palestinian rights.