JERUSALEM, Israel – The Palestinian Authority accused Australia of making a declaration of war following its decision to withhold financial aid to the PA if it continues to reward terrorists and their families. It's one more nation pressuring the PA to stop a policy many call "pay to slay."
Palestinian Authority Cabinet, Screen Capture
The controversial policy provides money to convicted Palestinian terrorists and their families for attacks on Israelis. The payments coming from this fund add up to more than $330 million each year.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop objected to the policy saying, "I am concerned that in providing funds for this aspect of the PA's operation, there is an opportunity for it to use its own budget to [fund] activities that Australia would never support."
Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi called Bishop's statement "extremely insulting."
Hanan Ashwari, Screen Capture
"Australia now is just doing the bidding of the US unfortunately and Julie Bishop's statement is extremely insulting and it shows the utmost ignorance of the realities of Palestinians living under a cruel and brutal and illegal Israeli occupation," she said.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Screen Capture
Australia's decision follows America's lead in passing the Taylor Force Act that also withholds aid until the PA ends the terror payments. Congress named the law after Taylor Force, an American citizen killed in a 2016 terror attack in Israel.
US Army Veteran Taylor Force, Screen Capture
Meanwhile, Israel's parliament recently debated its own legislation to stop payments to the Palestinian Authority.
"To this Palestinian enterprise that is called the Palestinian Authority, Mr. Chairman [Mahmoud Abbas], it is very easy to get accepted when the only thing you have to do is to kill Israelis to get arrested or killed and you get a job," Israeli Foreign Affairs and Defense Chairman Avi Dichter said during a debate on the issue. Taylor's father sat in on the discussion.
"We are honored to have you here with us, the event to pass this bill, and hopefully we shall pass it on the second or the third call," Dichter told him.
And pass it they did, adding one more multi-million-dollar penalty against the Palestinian Authority for encouraging and rewarding terrorism.