Over at the Liberal Conspiracy website, the blogger Unity has responded to our Palestinian Hate Education since Annapolis report. Unfortunately, despite berating us for keeping the report to four pages (which we certainly won't apologise for, we're trying to influence busy people) he clearly hasn't taken the time to read it, or think about it.
We didn't just provide radical quotes from the Palestinian territories and the amount spent there and casually assert a connection. However, we also don't accept that unless we can find the British Government signing cheques for radical schoolbooks or TV programmes there isn't an issue, as the report says:
"In total Britain therefore gave nearly £100 million in aid to the Palestinian territories. At the same time there is extensive evidence that the authorities in the Palestinian territories are supporting television, radio and newspapers that promote hatred and violence, and school textbooks that radicalise young Palestinians.
Donations to the Palestinian territories create a responsibility to ensure that the Palestinian Authority does not misuse its budget. That responsibility exists whether British taxpayers are directly supporting the promotion of hatred and violence or providing the Palestinian Authority with funds that it can use to do the same or providing services that Palestinian authorities would otherwise be expected to provide, freeing up room in their budget to use as they like.
That responsibility to take account not just of how a donation is spent, but the broader activities of the recipient, is reflected in the Quartet Principles, which laid out a set of rules that the Palestinian Authority must comply with in order to receive direct aid. It has also been reflected in law, in a case in the United States where it was ruled that charities must be held liable if they give money to groups that engage in terrorist acts, even if they stipulated the funds were for humanitarian purposes."
That's why the report doesn't read like a piece of financial detective work. The fact that Western countries, donating to the Palestinian territories, haven't explicitly signed cheques for extremist projets, but have financed them by providing general assistance to the authorities there, is exactly our point. Indirectly supporting hate education doesn't create a paper trail but is just as harmful to the long term prospects for peace in the region.
Unity may disagree with that argument but in his post he doesn't engage with it, which is a shame.
The situation can be improved, again from our report:
"Donations to the Palestinian territories can have more positive effects. The Palestinian Authorityʼs signing up to the Quartet Principles – which require that they take certain steps such as recognising Israel's right to exist - is due, in no small part, to donor pressure. The problem is not that we give aid to the Palestinian territories, which is vital for a people with few other sources of income, but that we focus our resulting influence solely on the question of whether the Palestinian Authority is preparing the necessary groundwork for peace with Israel.
We need to broaden our priorities and do all we can to ensure that the Palestinian Authority is preparing the Palestinian population for peace. More than 42 per cent of the Palestinian population are under 15 years old.14 Their attitudes will shape the future of any peace process. The very best of treaties will not be able to guarantee peace in the medium to long term if a generation of Palestinians are growing up indoctrinated to hate Israel and the non-Muslim world. As John F. Kennedy said, “peace does not rest in the charters and covenants alone. It lies in the hearts and minds of all people.”"