We, the undersigned, call on the Secretary of State for International Development to release auditors' reports regarding millions of pounds of DFID aid to the Palestinian Authority.
We believe it is important that citizens can see how UK aid has been spent.
In particular, we are concerned that DFID aid to the PA has been used to provide lavish salaries and other benefits to convicted terrorists and their families, thereby rewarding and encouraging terrorism. UK Lawyers for Israel made a Freedom of Information request to establish the position. This was denied, on the grounds that such a disclosure was likely to "prejudice the relations between the UK and any other state or international organisation".
This is a troubling response; only states or organisations who were misusing aid money would have any cause for concern about the release of such audit reports. Needless to say, the British government should not, now or ever, be funding salaries and other benefits to convicted terrorists and their families. British Government ministers have repeatedly assured Parliament that foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority is not funding terrorists or their families. However, we are concerned that DFID cannot say with certainty that funds are not being misused. This is because audits of DFID's programmes in the Palestinian Territories have been in part conducted by Jordanian and Palestinian companies outside of the regulatory jurisdiction of the UK Government; and an international organisation that was involved, PwC, has said that the narrow scope of its work "did not require it to consider this issue".
We call on the Government to act transparently on this issue and release the auditors' reports without further delay.