The United Kingdom is hiding information about ensuring that its funding for the Palestinian Authority does not go toward incentivizing terrorism.
As this paper’s Lahav Harkov reported this week, the British government is refusing to disclose whether it has safeguards in place to ensure that its aid to the PA is not underwriting the obscene “pay to slay” policy, by which terrorists and their families receive healthy stipends for murdering or wounding Israelis.
More specifically, it is concealing information regarding how or whether it is preventing aid money it sends to the PA from being used to pay for stipends to the families of the terrorists who murdered Lucy, Maia, and Rina Dee – all of them UK citizens – in April.
Following the Dee murders, two pro-Israel British NGOs used the Freedom of Information Act to request information about the auditing process for British aid to the PA. The Foreign Office declined to respond, stating that disclosing such information could harm the UK’s bilateral relationship with “Palestine” and hinder its ability to protect and promote UK interests.
In short, the Foreign Office is hiding this information, and it is doing so unabashedly.
The question is: Why?
The British government may not want to reveal the information because it could demonstrate that taxpayers’ money indirectly incentivizes terrorists to target Israelis and Jews.
Pay for slay
The PA pays terrorists and their families a stipend higher than the average Palestinian salary, and this pay-to-slay system grants the stipends based on the severity of crimes committed. The more Israelis wounded and murdered in an attack, the higher the stipend the terrorist who carried it out will receive. According to various estimates, the PA pays out about 10% of its budget, or some $300 million, in these payments every year.
London might want to hide this information because it does not want to be judged, and it knows that giving money to a body that disburses it to terrorists is a particularly bad look, especially for a Western government that has stated its commitment to fighting terrorism.
Why hide the audit?
The attempt to hide the audit may be because the British government wants to avoid a confrontation with British Jewry, supporters of Israel, and other decent Britons who would be appalled to learn that funds to the Palestinians are not being carefully monitored to prevent their use in this way.
London might hide this information from the public due to concerns that it could harm its relationship with the PA. They know that if they raise the issue with the Palestinians, the PA will surely object and will not actually alter its policies.
Ultimately, London’s concealment may stem from the shame and embarrassment of the knowledge that British funds may be used for such reprehensible purposes. The Foreign Office knows the pay-to-slay policy is evil, and perhaps it is simply ashamed of any collusion with it and thus wants to keep it hidden.
The British should – and must – confront the PA on this anyway, because these payments are indeed heinous, and if there is anything over which it is worth confronting the PA, it is precisely this. And it should be transparent with the British people about the steps it is taking to ensure that their tax money isn’t going to fund murder.
The current approach is morally wrong. The PA’s payment of stipends to those who kill Jews is repugnant. The enlightened world, including Israel, must not only express its condemnation verbally but also show its repulsion through policy.
The US did so in 2018 by passing the Taylor Force Act, which stopped certain US aid to the PA until it ceased these stipends.
Britain and other European states should follow suit.
At a time when there is much talk, including in Israel, about the need to strengthen the PA, it is critical that this is done in such a way that ensures money allocated to prop up the PA is properly accounted for, preventing it from being diverted to odious purposes.
There are ways to audit these things. The British government knows how to do it. The British public has a right to see if it is being done.