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Tuesday, 16 August 2011

British aid and Palestinian terrorists

The Palestinian Authority (PA) sometimes lies in its propaganda. It has that in common with many governing authorities, particularly those which have evolved in historical circumstances similar to those in which the PA has evolved. So, when the PA claims to be paying £8 million per annum to the families of convicted criminals including terrorists, I don't know whether to believe such a claim - if I don't believe some of the other things that the PA says, why should I believe this? Nevertheless, the PA is making such a claim, and some people are connecting it to the £86 million that the UK provides to the Palestinians each year; the suggestion is being made that British taxpayers are giving millions of pounds that the PA is then paying to the families of terrorists. Assuming that these £8 million payments actually exist, then is there any evidence that they are coming from the £86 million provided by the British? I have seen no such evidence. 

Of course, it can be argued that, if the PA has so much spare cash that it can afford to pay £8 million to terrorists and other criminals, then why does it need aid from us? I understand also the argument that the PA can only afford to make these payments because international aid is paying for so many other things. I also completely understand how awful it is that the Fatah-controlled PA, so-often portrayed in the West as a relatively moderate organisation with which Israel can negotiate for peace, is engaged in the glorification of terrorists

But those are different arguments from the claim that UK taxpayers' money is being given by the PA to terrorists' families. The UK's aid to the Palestinians is broken down in great detail on the Department for International Development's website. Is the UK simply handing money to the PA, or are we funding specific aid projects of our own? If the latter, then to what extent is it true that British money is going into a PA pot from which the PA is then taking £8 million to give to terrorists and other criminals? This is not as cut and dried as some people are making out. At least some of the UK aid to Palestinians is going to things that I strongly support.


  1. Typically nothing on the Israeli Government subsidising the criminal construction and occupation of illegal settlements in the Occupied Territories.

    Call yourself a Liberal, when you don't believe in the rule of law?

  2. Change the record Matthew, the constant Palestinian-bashing and Israeli-boot licking is really becoming highly monotonous.

  3. Thanks, Gareth.

    I wrote this post for a very specific purpose, to address a very specific issue. Various British newspapers (including the Mail) have alleged that British taxpayers are funding £8 million in aid to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.

    As my post made clear, I question the detailed accuracy of this allegation. I also support the continuance of UK aid to the Palestinians (a point on which you presumably agree with me). I understand the arguments about why the newspapers' allegation matters, but for me, it raises a lot of important questions and is not a simple matter.

    My saying that has led some people to accuse me of "condoning" the payments concerned, when I have done no such thing - hence my having written the post concerned, setting out what I think about it.

    If by "a liberal" you are talking about the English liberalism developed over three centuries by John Locke, John Stuart Mill, Isaiah Berlin and our party (which I first joined aged fifteen, in 1986), then yes, I am a liberal.

    I am not sure what I have said to convince you that I do not believe in the rule of law?

    You are presumably referring to things that you consider me to have not-said about the settlements. You say that I "typically" do not mention them. I have written many times on this blog and elsewhere about settlements, including at:

    One comment by me about settlements - - generated this: and this: , which tells you something.

    Would you and I agree about the principles embodied in this: ?

  4. To James, I would say: if you find my blog "monotonous", then why do you read it? You are most welcome not to read it if you do not wish to do so.

    Many years ago, Paul Merton did a routine about a phone poll that had been on ITV Teletext. The poll had asked a question, and, say, 130 people had voted Yes, 200 people had voted No, and 47 people had voted that they had no opinion.

    In other words, said Merton, 47 people had bothered to call a phone line to point out that they had no opinion. James, your coming on to a blog to say that you find it monotonous reminds me of those 47 people.

    Almost as good as the Anonymous person the other week whose comment was: "Matthew, nobody is reading your rubbish", when s/he obviously WAS reading it, otherwise s/he wouldn't have been able to post the commment! Ridiculous.

    So, James, what are your constructive proposals for improving the situation faced by Palestinians and Israelis? In serious, practical terms, what would you like to see happen next?

  5. Mathew,
    the only reason the Palastinians need aid is because israel makes it impossible for trade to florish.....and indeed israel maintains the occupation to keep money from the occupation.....for example, keep taxes and giving it to israeli compamies