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    Priti Patel, the United Kindom's Secretary of State for International Development speaks at the closing of the Fifth Replenishment Conference of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Montreal, Quebec, September 17, 2016

    ‘Salaries to Terrorists’: UK Freezes $30 Million in Aid to Palestine

    © AFP 2019 / Geoff Robins
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    The British Department for International Development has frozen a Palestine aid program worth some $30 million, justifying the move as an attempt to avoid providing “salaries to terrorists.”

    Since 2011, the Palestinian Authority has provided monetary resources to Palestinians held in custody in Israeli prisons. In case these people were killed by Israelis, that money would go to relatives. These payments are made partly with aid money from various foreign entities, including European countries, such as the UK and Germany.

    Earlier, these payments were made from the Palestine Authority budget. After 2014, these payments became the responsibility of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

    Earlier this summer, UK lawmakers demanded that the Department for International Development aid program be canceled, claiming the Palestinian Authority diverts aid money to the PLO, who they claim is a sponsor of terrorism. At the time, the department rejected the demand.

    But this year MP Priti Patel, appointed new head of the Department, reportedly ordered a review of where department funding goes. Until the results are compiled, she has ordered that about one-third of the total UK aid to Palestine be frozen, according to the Sun.

    According to a source in the department, "we are not stopping [funding] for the Palestinian Authority overall, just delaying it to a date when we know our money won't be going to people who do nothing in return for it."

    This order follows an earlier statement by the German government, saying that some German aid to Palestine may be going to militants.

    Annually, Germany supports the Palestinian authority with some $179 million. But in 2014, the Ministry for Prisoners Affairs of Palestine was dismantled, and the responsibility to care for prisoners and their families was moved to the PLO.

    Responding to a request from German Green Party Parliamentary Volker Beck, foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier wrote:

    "The Palestinian side justifies [paying the detainees and their families] by pointing out the need to prevent a descent into poverty by these families, who the Palestinians see as frequent victims of collective penalties such as demolition of housing and revoking of work permits. The extent of this support depends, among other things, on the length of the detainment."

    "To the knowledge of the Federal Government there is no distinction made according to the reasons for detainment," his letter reads.

    According to Palestinian data, total payments to prisoners and their families equals nearly $170 million a year. Individual payments increase with the length of imprisonment, and range from $364 to $3,120 per month, the latter figure paid for 30-year prison terms.

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    Tags:
    Terrorism, Money, aid, Palestine Liberation Organization, UK Department for International Development, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Priti Patel, Germany, Palestine, United Kingdom
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