UK Gave Huge Sums to Pay Palestinian Terrorists

YERUSHALAYIM -
Jonathan Turner, Chief Executive of U.K. Lawyers for Israel. (UKLFI)

The British government has been funneling hundreds of millions of dollars into accounts for payouts to Palestinian terrorists, and has been ordered to disclose details of the funding, according to media reports.

The U.K. Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham ruled that audits of money transfers to the Palestinian Recovery and Development Program (PRDP) by the Department for International Development (DfID) must be made public within 35 days under the freedom of information act.

The U.K. paid more than £430 million to the PRDP between 2008 and 2015. It is a multi-donor trust fund operated by the World Bank, which acted as an administrator for disbursements in Gaza and Yehudah and Shomron. London-based auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers wrote several reports on the fund.

The ruling culminated a year-long legal struggle on the part of the government to withhold the information, claiming that keeping the matter confidential was in the national interest.

When DfID had consulted the Palestinian Authority (PA) about the potential disclosure, the response was negative, that “the PA has been very clear that it did not want the withheld information to be disclosed.”

Officials agreed at the time that disclosure “could extend to a wider breakdown in trust and confidence which could affect the wider UK–PA relationship.”

However, the Information Commissioner in the end held that, on balance, the public would be better served by disclosure, citing Israel’s Palestinian Media Watch, which determined that “up to eight percent” of PA Central Treasury funds were used to pay salaries to convicted terrorists. She said this “rewards and encourages terrorism.”

Ministers had adopted the PA line that the money was not paid as “terrorists’ salaries” but instead paid to the families of Palestinian political prisoners as a form of welfare.

“Those responsible for misleading the public and Parliament to facilitate the payment of large sums of money that were used to reward and encourage murder should now be held to account,”

Jonathan Turner.