Australia Halts Aid to Palestinians Over Terrorist Stipends

YERUSHALAYIM -

Australia has stopped its financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority because of suspicions that it’s being used for payments to terrorists and their families, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced Monday.

At issue is an Australian contribution of AU$10 ($7.4) million to the World Bank’s Multi-Donor Trust Fund for the Palestinian Recovery and Development Program.

“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 added that the Canberra government finds terrorist stipends repugnant.

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,” she said.

The U.S. Congress passed the Taylor Force Act three months ago that prevents U.S. funding to the PA – except for programs dealing with water, child vaccinations and 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 1.2 billion shekels the PA pays in terror stipends from the taxes and tariffs Israel collects for the PA.