The Australian Liberal party’s 60th annual federal council in Sydney, spearheaded by the party’s youth arm, last week voted 43 to 31 to urge the government to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem and freeze financial aid to the Palestinian Authority until it stops paying salaries to terrorists and their families. The vote should have resulted in government action, seeing as the Liberal party, headed by Malcolm Turnbull, has been in power since 2015. But it didn’t.
Instead, Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop on Saturday ruled out both resolutions, stressing there was no chance she would adopt them as her policy. “While I understand the sentiment behind this resolution, the Australian government will not be moving our embassy to Jerusalem,” Bishop said, according to the Guardian.
“Jerusalem is a final status issue and we have maintained that position for decades and we are doing all we can do to ensure that any support we give to the Palestinian Authority is only used for purposes that we determine,” the FM insisted.
As to the salaries the PA is paying the terrorists in Israeli prisons and their families, Bishop said has been in communication with the PA Foreign Minister to make sure the money her country sends Ramallah—an estimated $43 million—will only be spent on good things.
“Our funding to the Palestinian Authority is subject to a memorandum of understanding, defining precisely how it is used and subject to very close audit to ensure that no funds are diverted to the so-called Martyr’s fund,” Bishop insisted.
In May, Bishop responded to the Hamas-inspired riots at the Gaza fence, saying, “We recognize that Israel has legitimate security concerns and needs to protect its population, and we call on Israel to be proportionate in its response and refrain from excessive use of force. Australia urges Palestinian protesters to refrain from violence and attempting to enter into Israeli territory during the March of Return.”