For a few years, the majority of Sweden's development aid to Palestine goes to civil society organizations that support democracy and freedom, human rights and peaceful coexistence. Sida has now been tasked with conducting a review of aid to Palestine. It must be beyond doubt that the organizations that receive Swedish aid stand for democracy, peace and tolerance and do not have collusion with or leak money to terrorist organizations. This is written by Gudrun Brunegård, the Christian Democrats' aid policy spokesperson.
Janine Alm Ericson, the Green Party's spokesperson for aid issues, has in a debate article criticized the government's decision to pause development aid to Palestine.
On October XNUMXth, the world was shocked by the horrific terrorist attack on innocent Israelis. Anyone who has seen images of the massacre should be able to unreservedly condemn Hamas and the attack. But unfortunately that is not the case. On the West Bank was celebrated the biggest the mass murder of Jews since the Holocaust.
It is completely unacceptable that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas could neither condemn the terrorist attack nor prevent the celebration of the mass murder of infants, children, adults and the elderly.
For some years, the majority of development aid to Palestine goes to civil society organizations that support democracy and freedom, monitor human rights and promote peaceful coexistence. But in an environment that glorifies terrorism to such an extent, that the demonstrations in the Palestinian territories shown, is it necessary to pause the Swedish development aid and carry out a review of the organizations to which the aid goes. There must not even be a suspicion that Swedish aid goes directly or indirectly to organizations that support terrorist activities.
That this has been able to happen is shown by the lighting of the aid project that the Left Party's aid organization Vänsterns International Forum (VIF) supported. VIF has previously used the party-linked aid to sponsor a program in which the Palestinian party "Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine" participated. The DFLP subsequently announced that they participated in the attack on innocent Israeli civilians recently. Even before that, the DFLP had had a problematic history. Nevertheless, Swedish aid money could sponsor projects in which the organization could participate. Furthermore, it has previously been discovered that aid funds from the EU has been used to pay for educational materials with anti-Semitic elements for Palestinian schools. It is not acceptable.
Sida has been commissioned to review the aid to Palestine. It must be beyond doubt that the organizations that receive Swedish aid stand for democracy, peace and tolerance and do not have collusion with or leak money to terrorist organizations.
Let me also remind you that humanitarian aid continues without a break, with emergency aid through organizations such as WFP, Unicef and the Red Cross/Red Crescent. As former State Secretary Alm Ericson is of course aware, humanitarian aid is given based on principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. When she writes that the government is "withdrawing the support that keeps Palestinian children alive", it is simply incorrect. The government is pushing through the EU for immediate and full humanitarian access so that our help can arrive.
Swedish aid must not contribute to the activities of terrorist organizations. We now want to ensure that development aid does not do that. If you really want peace in the region, this should not be particularly controversial.
Now we await the results of Sida's review of development aid to Palestine. Hopefully, no more inaccuracies have occurred. Then the activities should be able to resume again, in order to build a strong and healthy Palestinian civil society, which stands up for democracy and human rights and has resilience against both corruption and anti-Semitism.
As far as the review of development aid is concerned, the examples above have shown that there are grounds for review. Ensuring that aid does not contribute to the spread of terrorist groups' hateful agendas is the government's responsibility, and ultimately an act of solidarity with the civilian population of Palestine, who have the right to a future in peace and security.