UK Gov’t to Continue Funding Palestinian Authority With Health, Education Aid

United Kingdom (Sputnik) – The British Department for International Development (DFID) has announced it will continue to provide funding to aid the Palestinian Authority (PA), but a series of “critical changes” will be made in order to ensure value for money.

The money will be funded by the taxpayer and its objective is to help “maintain stability, provide vital services and build and strengthen the institutions needed for a viable two-state solution.”

There had been questions raised as to whether the funding provided by Britain would be continued and if it stops what this could mean for the PA. In October 2016, the UK government decided to freeze funds to the PA, justifying the move as an attempt to avoid providing “salaries to terrorists.”

However with critical changes made, the British government has decided that it will from now on focus “solely on vital health and education services,” with funding going towards “the salaries of health and education public servants on a vetted list” only.

It is expected that British money will be used to pay salaries of up to 30,000 Palestinian teachers, doctors, nurses and midwives.

The funds will be used to ensure around 25,000 Palestinian children continue their education, are immunized and have medical consultations.

However the Labour Friends of Israel had urged the government to investigate where the money was being sent and whether funding sent to the PA was being used to pay the families of so-called Palestinian terrorists.

A UK government statement said that they would provide help and support to pay for salaries of teachers and doctors. However there have been vital changes made to the current support strategy, one of the most noteable is that the money will no longer be used to fund some public servants employed by the PA.

Palestinian Children, By user:Tarek – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Gaza public servants employed by the Palestinian Authority were not able to work since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip. Given this, the UK Government decided that they will no longer pay the salaries of Gaza public servants, on value for money grounds. In order to preserve stability in a context of very high unemployment, the Palestinian Authority will continue to pay the salaries of these public servants.

“UK support to the PA will help to pay the salaries of up to 30,000 teachers, doctors, nurses, midwives and other essential health and education public servants on a vetted list. This will enable around 25,000 young Palestinians to get an education, provide up to 3,700 immunizations for children, and around 185,000 medical consultations annually,” a statement read.

DFID will provide funding for up to US$30 million to the PA this financial year and all future payments will be subject to annual sign-off by the UK government, after they have reviewed the PA’s commitment to the UK partnership Principles and progress against key reform indicators.

In December 2016, the DFID faced criticism for using UK foreign aid money to pay private contractors and consultants which amounted to US$1.25 billion.

 

This report prepared by Sputnik.