Australian FM Julie Bishop with PM Benjamin Netanyahu (Haim Zach/GPO) Haim Zach/GPO)
Netanyahu and Julie Bishop

Any assistance provided by the Palestinians 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 stated.

By: United with Israel Staff

Australia has terminated its annual $10 million ($ 7.4 M in USD) funding to the Palestinian Authority (PA) over its practice of incentivizing terrorism, and is instead redirecting the funds to a United Nations program to finance basic needs of Palestinian women and families

Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop stated Monday that the Australian government has discontinued funding to the World Bank’s Donor Trust Fund for the Palestinian Recovery and Development Program.

Bishop wrote to the PA on May 29, to “seek clear assurance that Australian funding is not being used to assist Palestinians convicted of politically motivated violence,” but apparently did not receive a satisfactory reply.

Bishop noted that while she was confident that previous Australian funding to the PA “has been used as intended,” she expressed concern that in providing funds the PA’s operations “there is an opportunity for it to use its own budget to activities that Australia would never support.”

An Affront to Australian Values

“Any assistance provided by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) 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 stated.

Some seven percent of the PA budget, largely funded by American and European aid, is directed by Palestinian legislation to pay salaries and benefits to Palestinian terrorists imprisoned in Israel and to allowances for Palestinian families whose relatives have been killed or injured while perpetrating terrorist attacks.

These payments, amounting to more than NIS 1.1 billion ($350 million) per year, are funneled through the Palestinian Authority Martyrs’ Fund, which was transferred to the PLO in 2014 in an attempt to divert criticism.

According to a report by Israel’s Defense Ministry based on the PA’s budget, the PA paid terrorists and their families more than $347 million in 2017, and increased its terror incentives by $56 million to $403 million for 2018.

Palestinian prisoners serving 20-30 year sentences for carrying out terror attacks are eligible for a lifetime NIS 10,000 monthly stipend, the Defense Ministry said, citing PA figures.

Palestinian prisoners who are married, have children, live in Jerusalem or hold Israeli citizenship receive additional payments.

Bishop underscored that Australia remains committed to “supporting vulnerable Palestinians with access to basic services, including health care, food, water, improved sanitation and shelter,” and therefore, Australia will direct its funding to the UN’s Humanitarian Fund for the Palestinian Territories, which supports these services.

The United Nations’ Humanitarian Fund helps 1.9 million people. Approximately 75 per cent of its funding will be spent in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, where the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate.

The Palestinian ‘Terror Machine’

The Australian Government has informed the PA and the World Bank of its decision.

Rudy Giuliani, attorney to US President Donald Trump and former mayor of New York City, recently called the PA a “murder machine” and “a prime supporter of terrorism,” noting its financial support and glorification of terrorists.

“The payment of money by the Palestinian Authority to terrorists who are convicted of terrorism is an absolute human rights outrage and a crime in and of itself,” Giuliani stated.

“To give money to people who slaughter innocent human beings, including children and women and innocent people of all kinds, is a direct contribution to terrorism… The fact that the Palestinian Authority does this, carries this out on a massive scale, is yet another indication that the Palestinian Authority is a prime supporter of terrorism, and therefore is not entitled to be a state.”