FM Julie Bishop rejects using Australian humanitarian funding for the PA to pay monthly stipends to entice Palestinian attacks on Israelis, as it is an “affront to Australian values, and undermines the prospect of meaningful peace between Israel and the Palestinians.”
By HERB KEINON
Australia has discontinued funding the Palestinian Authority because of concern that the money is making PA payments to terrorists and their families possible, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced Monday.
Canberra had allocated AU$10 ($7.4) million to the World Bank’s Multi-Donor Trust Fund for the Palestinian Recover and Development Program that went to the PA.
“I wrote to the Palestinian Authority (PA) on 29 May, to seek clear assurance that Australian funding is not being used to assist Palestinians convicted of politically motivated violence,” Bishop said in a statement. “I am confident that previous Australian funding to the PA through the World Bank has been used as intended. However, I am concerned that in providing funds for this aspect of the PA’s operations there is an opportunity for it to use its own budget to activities that Australia would never support.”
Bishop said that any assistance provided “to those convicted of politically motivated violence is an affront to Australian values, and undermines the prospect of meaningful peace between Israel and the Palestinians.”
Bishop said that Australia remains committed to supporting “vulnerable Palestinians with access to basic services, including health care, food, water, improved sanitation and shelter.” As result, Canberra will now direct the AU$10 million “to the United Nations’ Humanitarian Fund for the Palestinian Territories which supports these services.”
About 75% of this money, she said, will be spent in Gaza.
Australia allocated some AU$43 ($33.2) million in the 2018-2019 budget to the Palestinians, with part of the funds going to Australian NGOs working in the territories, part to the PA through the World Bank’s fund, and part to UNRWA. This accounts for one percent of Australia’s overall foreign aid.
The move comes some three months after the US Congress passed the Taylor Force Act that will halt US funding to the PA– except for programs dealing with water, child vaccinations and east Jerusalem hospitals – until the PA ends payments to terrorists and their families.
The Knesset is expected to pass a similar bill on Monday that will require the government to deduct the NIS 1.2 billion the PA pays terrorists and their families from the taxes and tariffs Israel collects for the PA.
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