Justine Greening - please don't inherit your predecessor's Middle East blinkers

Heathrow Airport may be grabbing the headlines from Justine Greening's move from Transport to International Development, but what of the challenges that lie ahead, not least Palestinian incitement?

Fatah "martyrs"
Nick Gray
On 5 September 2012 10:35

Whether or not Andrew Mitchell’s succession at International Development by Justine Greening is tied to runways at Heathrow remains to be seen. What is of concern, however, in terms of the Middle East Peace Process, is whether he passed on to her the blinkers he persistently wore when examining any aspect of British aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA).

It is admirable that Britain should play a part in supporting economic growth and political evolution towards democracy in the Palestinian Authority. It is lamentable, though, that our government has always turned a blind eye to Palestinian incitement of its own people to hate, kill and demonise Israel. Britain advocates a peaceful two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, yet we ignore all the signs that the Palestinians do not want peace with Israel; they want her complete destruction.

From maps of “Palestine” that include the whole of the state of Israel to the glorification of past terrorists, and the indoctrination of children through TV programmes and school activities, Mahmoud Abbas and his leadership repeatedly, and to this day, make no secret of their desire for a “one-state” solution – Israel replaced by Palestine, not living alongside it.

The Department for International Development’s (DfID) website, in its operational plan for giving the PA £86 million pounds a year for four years (starting in 2011), stressed that, “...we will judge any future government by its actions and its readiness to work for peace.”

It also pointed out that the flow of money is governed by a memorandum of understanding, which “...emphasises the importance of Palestinian adherence to a political programme that uphold principles of non-violence, seeks a negotiated two state solution...” I use the past tense because a re-reading of the site this year showed a deplorable toning down of any sense that the PA was accountable for its actions and a removal of the original phrases above.

To date, DfID has refused point blank to consider any evidence of persistent and deadly incitement by the PA against Israel, even when challenged with solid evidence that British taxpayers’ money is helping to fund incitement and paying salaries to terrorists. Justine Greening needs to take off her department’s Middle East blinkers, read the evidence, and hold the PA accountable before giving them more of our hard-earned cash.

Theyworkforyou.com records quirkily that Justine Greening is “above average amongst MPs” in her use, in speeches, of three-word alliterative phrases. I have a few for her: “Abbas Aid Accountable”, “Pay Peaceful Palestinians”, or even “Increased Incitement Inadmissable”.

Nick Gray is Director of Christian Middle East Watch. Read his blog and follow him on Twitter @CMEW2

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