Palestinians fear recent aid cuts could expand

Palestinians fear recent aid cuts could expand

By Rasha Abou Jalal, Al Monitor  

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — The Australian government announced July 2 its decision to cut direct financial aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA), citing fears that the funds are paid as monthly salaries to Palestinian nationals convicted of carrying out attacks against Israel. The decision is another challenge to the PA, which is already suffering from a steady decline in foreign funding and an estimated budgetary deficit of around $1 billion this year.
 
Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said in a statement that her government will cut funding to the PA of some $10 million paid annually, currently distributed through the World Bank's Multi-Donor Trust Fund for the Palestinian Recovery and Development Program. The funds will instead be transferred to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian Territories, which provides health, food, water, sanitation and shelter services to those in need, she explained.
 
“I 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,” she said. Bishop expressed concern that Australian funds might be used to sponsor “activities that Australia would never support,” adding that she was “confident” the country’s previous financial contributions to the PA were used appropriately.
 
 

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