Britain is suspending millions of pounds-worth of aid payments to the Palestinian Authority amid claims taxpayers cash is ending up in the hands of terrorists, The Sun reported on Friday.
International Development Secretary Priti Patel has ordered a freeze pending an investigation, according to the report.
The move comes after furious British MPs demanded action earlier this summer, following revelations that UK aid supposedly paying for civil servants in Gaza was being transferred to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
In one instance, a Hamas master bomber was alleged to have been given £100,000 by the PLO.
Other “salaries” reportedly went to families of suicide bombers and teenagers attacking Israel.
The Department for International Development has previously admitted that the PLO makes “social welfare” provisions for terrorist prisoners’ families but ruled out the idea UK cash is being diverted in this way, according to The Sun.
But on Thursday, government sources conceded that many of the civil servants were doing other jobs while pocketing UK taxpayers’ cash.
The decision by the Department for International Development means that £25 million in cash is being withheld this year – a third of the total aid sent to the Palestinian Authority. The majority goes to charities in the region.
Whitehall insiders insisted the payments to the PA should re-start next year once the investigation is complete.
“We are not stopping for the Palestinian Authority overall, just delaying it to a date when we know our money won’t be going to people who do nothing in return for it,” one official told The Sun.
The PA repeatedly asks for foreign donations, claiming it is on the verge of collapse due to a worsening financial crisis, even as its chairman Mahmoud Abbas continues to spend six percent of the PA’s annual budget to pay $4.5 million a month to jailed terrorists and another $6.5 million to their families.
Recently, Republican senators in the United States introduced legislation that would withhold funds from the PA until it is clarified that it has stopped rewarding terrorists or their families for attacks on Israelis and Americans.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)