Australia has ended its direct aid to the Palestinian Authority because of concerns that the PA could use the Australian funding to pay convicted terrorists.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Monday that Australia had cut funding to the World Bank's Multi-Donor Trust Fund for the Palestinian Recovery and Development Program, according to press reports. Bishop expressed concerns about the donations going to Palestinian criminals.
"I am confident that previous Australian funding to the PA through the World Bank has been used as intended," Bishop said in a statement. "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 [fund] activities that Australia would never support."
"Any assistance provided by the Palestine Liberation Organization 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," she continued.
Bishop explained in her statement that she wrote to the PA on May 29 to seek assurance that Australia's aid was "not being used to assist Palestinians convicted of politically motivated violence."
Australia's annual donation of 10 million Australian dollars ($7.4 million) to the trust fund will now be re-allocated to the United Nations' Humanitarian Fund for the Palestinian Territories. The country allocated some AU$43 ($33.2) million in its 2018-2019 budget to the Palestinians, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Australian Senator Eric Abetz praised the foreign minister's decision.
"Minister Bishop's strong and decisive decision today to ensure that the Palestinian Authority can no longer use our aid to free up money in its budget for state-promoted terrorism is very positive," Abetz said. "It is vital that we ensure that our foreign aid is not being spent on, or making money available for, the promotion of terrorism and so funneling our aid to the Palestinian territories through the United Nations will provide greater assurance that the Palestinian Authority's clever accounting cannot occur."
Published under: Terrorism