Australia will no longer directly give aid to the Palestinian government because it suspects the money is freeing up funds used to support political violence.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced on Monday that Australia will stop giving $10 million a year to the World Bank’s trust fund for Palestinian recovery and development.
“I wrote to the Palestinian Authority on May 29, to seek clear assurance that Australian funding is not being used to assist Palestinians convicted of politically motivated violence,” Ms 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.”
Ms Bishop said Australia will now send $10 million to the United Nations’ Humanitarian Fund for the Palestinian Territories, which provides vulnerable Palestinians with access to health care, food, water, improved sanitation and shelter.
The fund helps 1.9 million people, with about 75 per cent of its funding spent in Gaza, where the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate as tensions increase with Israel.