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Karen Harradine: We should shut down Dfid and stop doling out money to terrorists


At the same time an Islamist terrorist was slaughtering revellers enjoying a Christmas market in Berlin, our obtuse and foolish Department for International Development (Dfid) was gleefully doling out money to other terrorists.

Last week Dfid resumed payment of a £25 million grant to the Palestinian Authority (PA). This grant was suspended three months ago by Priti Patel, the Secretary of State for International Development, after concerns that the money was used to pay families of suicide bombers and the monthly salaries of terrorists imprisoned in Israeli jails. But with this latest decision Dfid has absurdly sanctioned this money to be used, again, as an incentive for terrorists to attack Israelis. We now send £75 million annually to the PA and Hamas, whose raison d’être is to kill Jews. The madness of this policy is perfectly encapsulated by the horrifying story of Kay Wilson, a British born woman living in Israel.

Wilson and her friend Kristine Luken, a Christian American tourist, were attacked by two Palestinians as they hiked in the Judean Hills. Wilson was forced to watch as Luken was brutally hacked to death in front of her and barely survived herself after being repeatably stabbed. Their attackers were rightfully sentenced to life imprisonment. But they are wrongly paid a yearly stipend of £9,000 each by the PA as a reward for their murderous deeds. The allure of this blood money, financed by the British tax payer, and the poisonous anti-Semitic rhetoric which emanates continuously from the PA and Hamas apparatchiks, proves to be very motivating to terrorists.

This sudden change in policy is bizarre and naive. Does Patel really think that the money is going to help civilians struggling under the brutal PA and Hamas regimes? I suspect that the Arabist-friendly and Israel-hating Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) persuaded Dfid to start wasting our taxes on terrorists again.

Assurances that the money is going to be vetted by civil servants is meaningless without Dfid explaining who will undertake such a task. Will it be the Dfid policy wonks, the Fatah-dominated PA or the Hamas terrorists? I think we should be told. Perhaps Dfid doesn’t care that this money will be used again as an incentive to kill more innocents.

Its doctrine on the Palestinian programme certainly reads like a Hamas propaganda worksheet. Israel is unashamingly blamed for the conflict and the PA and Hamas, despite their prolific spending on weapons and enriching their elite, are described as eternal victims. If Dfid cannot get basic facts right how can we trust them to ensure that our money is no longer channelled to terrorists but to those in need? We undoubtably have no assurances that the money will not find its way to terrorists plotting to kill more Israelis or to those Palestinians who celebrate the death of innocent civilians.

Part of the problem is that Dfid seems in thrall to UN policies, such as the Global Goals programme. As demonstrated by the recent appalling vote against Israel, and the UK’s disgusting support of it, the UN is now a bastion of dictators and despots who would happily see the demise of the West in pursuit of their own power. So why is the UK appeasing those who would destroy it? Dfid should not be spending our hard-earned taxpayer money on the dictats and whims of the corrupt UN.

This sorry affair is symptomatic of a bigger issue. We really have no idea where the ring-fenced Dfid budget goes to and I wonder if Dfid does too. The £11.1 billion spent by Dfid in 2015/16 could fund a quarter of our defence budget.  Given the security threats we face surely that money would be better spent combating terrorists rather than paying them. We could also use this money to finance our failing services. One billion pounds could fund almost 150,000 pensions or over 10,000 hospital doctors annually.

The £50 billion which has been allocated to Dfid for the next four years will not find its way to the indigent and the desperate. Linda Polman’s book War Games gives a damning account of how warlords, mercenaries and government soldiers control the distribution of aid, withholding it from their perceived enemies, even if they are in dire need.  Dfid’s aid money inevitably finds its way to dictators and despots, who shirk their responsibility of taking care of their citizens because gullible Westerners attempt to do this for them. At the same time they enrich themselves with the money intended to help the most vulnerable of humanity.

Which really begs the question as to what is the whole point of Dfid. We are one of the few Western countries to have an aid department like Dfid.  Why does our Government continue to sacrifice such a large chunk of our money on a department which now specialises in farcical mis-spending and corruption? Surely the time has come to disband Dfid?

I implore our Government to ignore the mass virtue-signalling and emoting that will inevitably arise from this action. For Dfid, as shown by Wilson’s dreadful experience, harms far more than it helps. Hard-earned taxpayers’ money is used to finance warlords and terrorists who slaughter our allies. And this is immoral and wrong.

Even though it is a lengthy and complicated process to repeal the law that created Dfid, MPs should muster their energy and do the right thing. Dfid is like a toddler stumbling around in her mother’s high heeled shoes – falling over and out of its depth.

(Image: DFID)

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Karen Harradine
Karen Harradine
Karen is an anthropologist and freelance journalist. She writes on anti-Semitism, Israel and spirituality. She is @KarenH777on Twitter.

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