EU and UK Officially Paying for Hamas Security Personnel

February 14, 2007

Britain and others will now be paying for the salaries of gunmen, who operate according to unacceptable levels of social mores and who reject the existence of the EU's largest trading partner in the Middle East.

The British Minister for International development, Hilary Benn, has confirmed that Britain will contribute a further 2.2 million in payments to the EU's Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) for the Palestinians.

The funds will "provide allowances to around 80,000 public sector workers".

In the same week as the British announcement, the Mecca Agreement between Hamas and Fatah allowed for the integration of the Hamas "Executive Force" into Fatah's military personnel, an established element of the Palestinian Authority's security apparatus.

Thus, the salaries of Hamas fighters, officially declared as terrorists by the EU and the USA, have become part of the civil service agenda of the PA.

The TIM is needed to ensure that vital health and education services are maintained, and this includes those Palestinians civil servants who work in those sectors. This is not a reason to exploit the generosity of overseas taxpayers.

What follows below are details of the Mecca Agreement and a full version of the aid released by the government in Westminster.

National Unity Government Expected Within a Week

Friday February 09, 2007 17:07 by Rami Almeghari - IMEMC & Agencies

The Palestinian President's advisor, Nabil Amr, said that a national unity government is expected within a week and that names of the new cabinet members are being discussed.

President Abbas, left, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, middle, Khaled Mash'al of Hamas, right, during Makkah meetings Amr's remarks came less than 24 hours after rival Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, agreed yesterday to a national unity government in the Saudi Arabian city of Makkah, ending months of bloody confrontations in the Palestinian territories.

Amr was quoted as saying "a Fatah-linked minister will take the post of deputy-prime minister after being named by president Mahmoud Abbas".

The interior ministry's post will be an independent minister, given approval by the Palestinian president, Amr made clear.

The Hamas-formed executive force of the Palestinian interior ministry, called 'illegal' by Abbas, will be integrated into the Palestinian security forces, while a national security council is likely, the President's advisor maintained.

Meanwhile, various reactions have been reported with respect to the said agreement. Washington emphasized the need for any new Palestinian cabinet to abide 'clearly and honestly' to peace-deals with Israel, while it is awaiting more details regarding the Palestinian agreement.

"Either Hamas or Fatah should recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence and accept past signed agreements with the Hebrew state," spokesman of the US State Department, Gonzalo Galigos, said.

French Foreign Minister, Philip Due Plai, welcomed the agreement, calling the international community to support the would-be government headed by Prime Minister Ismail Haniya.

Spokesperson of the German government, Olirsh Filhelm, called the Makkah deal the "first step in the right track".

Moscow hailed the deal, considering it a step towards stability in the Palestinian territories.

The European Union announced that it is currently considering the deal, while the EU's foreign relations chief, Jafeir Solana, welcomed Saudi Arabia's efforts to mediate such an agreement.

The UK welcomed the deal, calling it a 'significant' development towards peace in the Middle East.

United Nations Secreary General, Pan Ki-Moon, welcomed the Palestinian agreement, voicing hope that it would help restore calm to the occupied Palestinian territories.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's spokeswoman, said Israel expects the new Palestinian government to respect international conditions regarding recognition of Israel, acceptance of past signed agreements and clear-cut renunciation of violence.

Palestinian President, Fatah's Mahmoud Abbas and his Prime Minister, Ismail Haniya of Hamas, along with senior representatives of both factions including political bureau chief of Hamas Khaled Mash'al, and Mohammad Dahalan of Fatah, agreed on a four-point deal. This involved ending bloody infighting and agreeing on a national unity government.

The deal, concluded over the past couple of days, called for prohibiting the spilling of Palestinian blood, taking necessary measures to prevent recurrence of internal violence, forming a national unity cabinet and adopting dialogue as a means to resolve differences.

International Development Secretary, Hilary Benn, announces a further 2.2 million for Palestinian basic needs

Press Release

7 February 2007

Around 70,000 unpaid Palestinian public sector workers, including teachers and healthcare workers, will benefit from a 2.2 million cash injection for allowances from the UK today. Public sector workers have suffered almost eleven months without reliable pay.

Announcing the funding, International Development Secretary, Hilary Benn said:

"The economic situation for Palestinians in the West Bank and, particularly, Gaza remains desperately hard. Teachers, nurses, and others essential to delivering services to the Palestinian people have received little or none of their salaries for the past eleven months. They are struggling to make ends meet and this affects not only them and their families, but also the Palestinian population who rely on the services they provide.
"The UK has now contributed a total of 12 million since July 2006 to meet Palestinian basic needs through the EU's Temporary International Mechanism. But while aid will make a vital difference to people's livelihoods, as long as the violence, the closures and the restrictions on access continue, so will the suffering. The continuing conflict between Fatah and Hamas is of grave concern. We need a long term two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinian people, which we continue to work towards."

The total UK contribution of 12 million through the Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) for Palestinian basic needs is being used to fund essential health supplies, pay allowances to the poorest Palestinian public sector workers, and improve water, sanitation and electricity services.

The TIM has to date disbursed 100 million from donors and has delivered:

  • Over 4 million litres of fuel to keep water, sanitation and health care facilities running
  • Allowances for over 70,000 Palestinian Government workers
  • Welfare payments to over 72,000 of the poorest Palestinians

A further 16 million will be disbursed at the beginning of February. This will include the UK's latest 2.2 million contribution.

Donor funding through the TIM has been essential to slow the economic decline which for 2006 is now estimated at -9% rather than -27% as predicted at the start of last year. The EU (Community and Member States) increased its aid by 27% in 2006 to 442 million. However, tackling the Palestinian Authority's fiscal crisis will require Israel to release Palestinian clearance revenues.

Notes to editors

1. The new 2.2 million payment to the Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) will provide allowances to around 80,000 public sector workers, including teachers and nurses. Since April 2006 public sector workers employed by the Palestinian Authority (PA) have received basic allowance payments. Since July, allowance payments to the poorest PA workers have been covered by EU and Norwegian funding.

2. The UK has contributed a total of 12 million through the TIM:

  • 3 million for essential health supplies
  • 3 million for operating, maintenance and repair costs for water, sanitation and electricity services
  • 5.875 million for allowances for public sector workers
  • 125,000 in technical assistance

3. The TIM is needed because donors cannot fund the government until they meet the Quartet principles of giving up violence, recognising Israel's right to exist and signing up to previous peace agreements. It followed an original proposal by the Department for International Development. The European Union established the TIM to support the basic needs of the Palestinian people including health, education, social affairs, fuel and utilities.

4. The European Community is contributing 167.5 million (104 million) to the mechanism. Through its direct 12 million contribution plus its share of European Community aid, the UK will be contributing up to as much as 18.8 million. Other European Union Member States are also making contributions. The mechanism is open to any donor that wishes to contribute.

5. The UK is a long term provider of aid to Palestinians, having given over 370 million since the start of the Oslo peace process. The UK made a contribution of 15 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in April, which provides basic services for Palestinian Refugees in Gaza, Lebanon, and elsewhere in the Middle East. The TIM provides a way to help non refugees. The UK is also providing assistance to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to enable it to monitor closely the humanitarian situation in Gaza to assist donors and others to make sure help gets to those who need it most.

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