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Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what representations have

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been made to the Israeli Government to allow entry of relief consignments and facilitate their transport into the Occupied Territories. [48793]

Clare Short: The Government has called for an immediate and full Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian towns, which would facilitate human relief access, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1402.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) how much UK aid to Israel and the Palestinian territories has been obstructed by (a) Israel and (b) Palestinians during the recent violence in the Middle East; [48967]

Clare Short: There are approximately three million Palestinians living in the West Bank Gaza Strip, nearly half of whom are registered refugees. Following three consecutive years of rising real per capita income from 1997 to 2000, the Palestinian economy has been hit hard by the conflict. Surveys have barely been able to keep up with the level of damage inflicted on the Palestinian economy since the start of the Intifada in 2000. Damage to infrastructure, loss of life and strict closure activities has led to a dramatic decline in economic activity, particularly as Palestinians have been denied access to their jobs over the Israeli border. During 2001, it is estimated that GNI had declined by 12–15 per cent., unemployment risen by up to 50 per cent., and the numbers of people living below of the poverty (US$2 a day) increased to 50 per cent..

The damage inflicted during the recent escalation of violence, in terms of destruction of infrastructure (including basic services), damage to private property and

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government buildings will take some time to quantify. But it has further desecrated livelihoods, disrupted the delivery of water and sanitation, health and education services, and undermined the institutions of government.

We are working with others to try to determine the full extent of the damage and the humanitarian consequences. But international efforts remain hampered by restricted access. It is clear that there will be no improvements in the situation without an end to violence and a return to negotiations.

I have kept our programme of development assistance under close review. The long-term goal remains unchanged—the establishment of a viable Palestinian State, which can co-exist peacefully with Israel. The strategy also remains valid: to provide help for immediate and emergency needs while at the same time working for longer-term sustainable and institutional development.

The economic and social decline over the past 18 months has required a review of the balance between longer-term goals and urgent needs. We have sought to provide emergency assistance in ways that can contribute to sustainable development. As soon as possible we will work for a rapid assessment of the current situation and set priorities for action so that all agencies can respond in a co-ordinated and effective manner.

DFID is committed to support the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA) in meeting the needs of Palestinian refugees. We have steadily increased our financial and technical support to UNRWA, from £6 million in 1997 to £35 million in 2001, in response to the rising needs. I am in contact with Commissioner General Peter Hansen about the impact of the Israeli Defence Force incursions to many UNRWA camps, and what additional support is required for urgent actions. We have provided £5 million for the 2002 Emergency Appeal and will consider urgently what further support we can give, on top of our planned contribution for this year to UNRWA's core activities.

It is hard to quantify the impact of violence on UK development assistance. Closures and violence have adversely affected all programmes. It has proved difficult for international staff to travel to the region. In addition, closures and violence have hindered the movement of project staff. Prior to the recent incursions, we were confident that projects would meet their goals, albeit in a longer time period. We will need to look afresh at the impact on our programmes of recent intense incursions.

The UK does not provide any development assistance to Israel.

The Government has serious concerns for the safety of civilians and the access of medical, humanitarian and consular aid. We have made clear to Israel at the highest level that we expect them to ensure that medical and humanitarian organisations and Consular staff have uninterrupted access to those in need. The Foreign Secretary stressed these concerns to Israeli Foreign Minister Peres in a telephone call on 10 April.

The Government has repeatedly called on the Palestinian authority to take determined action to prevent terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens.

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We have called on both Israel and the Palestinian Authority to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1402, including the establishment of a meaningful ceasefire, the withdrawal of Israeli troops from palestinian towns and the implementation of the Tenet plan and Mitchell recommendations, with the aim of resuming negotiations on a political settlement.

We have tried and trusted mechanisms in place to provide security requirements for UK aid workers. DFID currently employs three people in the Consulate General in Jerusalem, and one secondee to the local EC office. UK and other nationals are also contracted under DFID- funded projects.

Those who work in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are aware they are operating in an unstable environment. All who travel to the area are fully briefed on the security situation and travel restrictions. UK nationals based permanently in the WBGS appear on the Consulate General Register, and the Consulate General is in regular contact, especially in times of crisis.

There are no aid-funded workers in Israel.

We judge that the risks posed to aid personnel in other Middle Eastern countries—Jordan, Egypt, Yemen and Iraq in DFID's context—are less acute. However, we, and the Foreign Office, continue to monitor the safety of people in the region closely.


Amy Gehring

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if her Department has received a similar letter to that received from the Police about Amy Gehring in the last 12 months. [45857]

Mr. Timms: The police report any conviction, except for minor road traffic offences, of a teacher (including a former teacher or a student teacher), or ancillary worker in a school or further education institution, to my officials. They also report any conviction of a proprietor of an independent school or a youth worker.

The police write to the Department about a range of issues relating to individuals connected with schools. We do not record these reports centrally in a way that allows us to compare them to the report received in respect of Amy Gehring.

Graduate Unemployment

Jane Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the rate of unemployment of newly graduated students has been for each of the last 10 years. [46335]

Margaret Hodge: The latest available information, which shows the unemployment rates for newly qualified graduates six months after graduation, is shown in the table. Information for students graduating in 2001 will be available in June 2002. As at spring 2001, the unemployment rate for all graduates in the population, at 2.4 per cent., was around half that for the workforce as a whole, at 4.6 per cent.

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Destinations of full-time first degree students from higher education institutions in England

Year of Total graduates with known of which, those who were unemployed(6):

1. Based on the employment position of graduates six months after graduation.

2. Covers UK domiciled and EU students only; figures for previous years cover UK domiciled, EU and other overseas students.

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