The former leader of one of Israel’s strongest allies is calling on his country to “demonstrate its unswerving support for Israel, as the Middle East’s only liberal, pluralist democracy.”
Australia’s former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has called on his country to cut its aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) over their funding of terrorism and, if the US does so, to move the Australian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Writing about a recent trip to Israel in The Spectator on Monday, Abbot said that “Australia should cut our $40 million a year in aid to the Palestinian Authority while it keeps paying pensions to terrorists and their families.”
The PA pays pensions to Palestinians convicts serving time in Israeli prisons for acts of terrorism. The pay scale works in such a way that the more deadly the attack and the longer time served, the higher the benefits received by the terrorist and his family.
These payments are largely funded by foreign aid and are prescribed by Palestinian law.
Abbott added that another way Australia can “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.”
President-elect Trump, while on the campaign trail, vowed to move the US embassy to Israel’s capital. It was repeated by David Friedman, Trump’s pick as US ambassador to Israel, who stated, “I intend to work tirelessly to strengthen the unbreakable bond between our two countries and advance the cause of peace within the region, and look forward to doing this from the US embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.”
During his visit last month, Abbott and Australian MPs met with PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, who claimed that his people had accepted Israel’s right to exist behind secure borders. “This is hard to credit given Palestinian TV’s consistent glorification of suicide bombers, reference to Jews as the ‘sons of monkeys and pigs’ and claims that the state of Israel is a ‘satanic project’,” Abbot wrote.
In Abbott’s mind, the two-state solution should be the final stage of the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, he views “a permanent settlement for a Palestinian state where Jews have the same rights as Palestinians have in Israel. The alternative is a kind of apartheid that’s at odds with Israel’s own values.”
The Palestinians, however, apparently seek a reality in which there would be no Jews living under their rule – essentially Judenrein, or ethnic cleansing.
With these plans in mind, Abbott concedes that “there are lots of lesser issues that could be fixed before this one is resolved.”
Strong Bonds Between Jerusalem and Canberra
Australia is one of Israel’s strongest allies.
Abbott’s comments come days after Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull slammed the UN Security Council for its anti-Israel resolution.
In a statement released Thursday, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said her country does not support “one-sided resolutions targeting Israel.”
Bishop visited Jerusalem in September, where she and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly had friendly meetings. The Israeli leader accepted an invitation to visit Australia in 2017.
The current Australian government was inaugurated in July 2016 and is considered very friendly to Israel. Bishop publicly stated two years ago that the international community has no authority to decide on the legality of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.