- Aid money said to have funded ‘salaries’ to Palestinian terrorists jailed in Israel
- Monthly payments between £400 and £2,000 came from Palestinian Authority
- Recipients reportedly include master bombmaker Abdullah Barghouti, who was jailed after attacks that left 67 dead
The Government has lost a legal battle to keep back secret documents which may support claims that terrorists have been paid using British taxpayers’ cash.
The payments of between £400 and £2,000 a month came from the Palestinian Authority (PA), which controls the West Bank and has received hundreds of millions in British foreign aid.
UK foreign aid money is said to have funded ‘salaries’ to Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails for terrorist acts – including master bombmaker Abdullah Barghouti (pictured), who was jailed after attacks that left 67 dead. It is claimed that he has been given more than £100,000
Recipients reportedly include master bombmaker Abdullah Barghouti, who was jailed after attacks that left 67 dead. It is claimed that he has been given more than £100,000 by PA.
Campaigners including UK Lawyers For Israel (UKLFI) have long accused the Government of failing to come clean over the alleged misuse of cash, claiming that Ministers have potentially misled Parliament by saying that salaries for terrorists were simply welfare payments.
For the past year, campaigners going through the Information Commissioner’s Office have demanded that the Department For International Development release an audit of where UK aid given to the PA has gone. DFID told the ICO that releasing the audit would harm relations between the UK and PA.
But now the Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has ruled that there is a ‘significant public interest’ in the disclosure of the information. Between 2008 and 2015, Britain paid the Palestinian Authority £430.5 million. More than eight per cent of money from the PA Central Treasury was used to pay terrorists’ salaries, according to documents obtained in 2012 by Israeli NGO Palestinian Media Watch.
DFID Ministers have claimed that since the process was audited by independent accountants, the UK knew where British money was going and it was not going to terrorists. But auditors Pricewaterhouse Coopers has said the narrow scope of its work did not require it to consider whether the money was going to terrorists.
UKLFI CEO Jonathan Turner said: ‘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.’
A DFID spokesman said: ‘These audit reports contain no evidence that UK aid has ever been used for payments to Palestinian prisoners or their families.’