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Denmark freezes all Palestinian development aid

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The Local ([email protected])
Denmark freezes all Palestinian development aid
Minister for Development Cooperation and Global Climate Policy, Dan Jørgensen confirmed Denmark will freeze aid to Palestine. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark has decided to stop sending international development aid to Palestine as a result of the attack on Israel by Hamas.

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The decision was confirmed by the Minister for Development Cooperation and Global Climate Policy, Dan Jørgensen.

“It’s very important to stress that we are not withdrawing all aid to Palestine in future, but we are pausing it to evaluate it,” Jørgensen told broadcaster DR.

“Unacceptable acts, terrorism and aggression of the worst kind have happened, and we must be naturally be very sure that Danish money is not indirectly supporting that,” he said.

Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen earlier confirmed that the government was considering its position regarding developmental aid to Palestinians, after one of the three parties in the coalition government, the Liberals, said on Monday they want to cut aid from Denmark following the attack on Israel by Hamas, a militant group which is listed as a terrorist organisation by both the EU and United States.

READ ALSO: Danish coalition party calls for end to Palestinian development aid

“It’s certain that things can’t continue as they were. At the same time, we must remain calm and think carefully. The government is very aware that there is a difference between terror organizations and the civilian population,” Rasmussen said on Monday.

Some 450 million kroner is budgeted as developmental aid to Palestinian areas for the years 2021-2025. Some 72 million kroner yet to be paid in 2023 represents the paused funding, according to DR.

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That will now be placed on pause while the government reviews the aid to satisfy itself that no Danish money indirectly funds terror organisations involved in the attack on Israel, it said.

The review will take place in cooperation with Nordic and EU partners. Denmark does not directly support the Palestinian National Authority.

Aid from Denmark will not reach civil organisations, infrastructure projects, agricultural projects and similar humanitarian recipients while the review is ongoing, DR reports.

The long-term aim of Danish development aid to Palestine is to contribute to a peaceful solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine by promoting stability and better living conditions for Palestinians caught in the conflict.

Jørgensen said that a “thorough analysis of all projects” was the best way to minimise the impact of the decision on civilians unconnected to the Hamas attack.

Foreign ministers from EU countries were scheduled to meet later on Tuesday to discuss the union’s aid to Palestine. Austria and Germany have, like Denmark, already paused national aid.

President of the European Council Charles Michel warned against a similar decision at EU level.

“Nothing can justify the atrocious terrorist attacks and crimes committed by Hamas against Israel and its people. Israel has the right to defend itself and any military operation must be conducted in accordance with international law.

“We must not cut off much needed development and humanitarian aid for civilian Palestinians. This could be exploited by Hamas and exacerbate tensions and hatred,” Michel wrote on X, formerly Twitter, on Monday evening.

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