The former Australia Prime Minister Tony Abbott believes aid to the Palestinian Authority is being used to fund pensions for terrorists and should be cut. Mr. Abbott also thinks Australia should follow the lead of the U.S. if it moves its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as President-elect Donald Trump has hinted.
He made the claims in an opinion piece published in the Australian edition of the Spectator Magazine on Monday. This follows his return from a recent trip to the Middle East as part of the Australia-Israel-UK Leadership Dialogue. Mr. Abbott wrote:
“Australia should cut our $40 million a year in aid to the Palestinian Authority while it keeps paying pensions to terrorists and their families. Another way for Australia to demonstrate its unswerving support for Israel, as the Middle East’s only liberal, pluralist democracy, might be to join any move by the Trump administration to move its embassy to Jerusalem.”
According to the ABC, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) will spend $43.6 million in foreign aid to the Palestinian Territories in 2016/17, which is distributed via a number of non-government organisations and the United Nations.
It suspended funding to World Vision in August last year after one of its employees in the Gaza Strip was arrested by the Israeli Government.
Mr. Abbott also wrote that a “permanent settlement” should be reached that establishes a Palestinian state but he asserted that there are “lots of lesser issues that could be fixed before this one is resolved.”
Mr. Abbott is no stranger to controversy, having been brutally deposed by his own conservative coalition in a leadership coup in September, 2015.
Previously he has lashed out at the “misguided” immigration policies of European leaders, including that of the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom, insisting: “unlike you, we now control our borders”.
Speaking at the Second Annual Margaret Thatcher Gala dinner in the City of London in 2015, Mr. Abbott told a crowd of Conservative Party MPs and supporters that seeing off radical Islam, as well as stopping migrants reaching Europe, were the most critical battles in modern times rather than the climate fixation of U.S. President Barack Obama and assorted European political leaders.