Australia just took a cue from Trump on Palestine, and it proves his unconventional approach can pay off | Digital Asia

U.S. President Donald Trump and Jared Kushner meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

U.S. President Donald Trump and Jared Kushner meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Kobi Gideon/Courtesy of Government Press Office/Handout via Reuters
  • Australia, like the US, will not fund the Palestinian Authority until it can be sure the organization has ceased funding terror.
  • The Palestinian Authority financially rewards terrorists and their surviving family members.
  • The international community is finally speaking up.

There’s a lot of negative things one could say about President Donald Trump. But that he is unwilling to break with convention is not one of them.

In basically every political conversation, Trump has signaled his readiness to try new approaches to old problems. Sometimes, this willingness to so quickly abandon the tactics of previous administrations is frightening, especially when coupled with the reality of his (and most of his administration’s) political inexperience.

But sometimes that tendency to reinvent the wheel can bear fruit. When it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this administration has certainly departed from the tactics that dominated during the Barack Obama years.

Trump has not achieved peace in the Middle East, nor has he solved the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Far from it. Nothing he or his team has thus far done seems especially brilliant or especially likely to work in establishing the long-sought but eternally elusive peace. But we’ve seen decades of failed efforts led by the greatest minds of several generations. At this juncture, it can’t hurt to throw out old assumptions and start fresh.

In March, when Trump signed the Taylor Force Act into law, he made clear that US assistance comes with certain conditions. The law promises that US aid to the Palestinian Authority will cease until the PA stops financially rewarding terrorists and their surviving family members.

Conventional wisdom said the US needed to aid the PA as much as possible, lest the body collapse, leaving a vacuum that could easily be filled by the more openly radical Hamas. The concern is a valid one, but so is the concern that in funding the PA, the US was essentially subsidizing terror against Israeli civilians.

When Trump signed the bill, it seemed unlikely that other countries would soon follow suit. But news broke Monday that Australia will no longer fund the PA directly because, as foreign minister Julie Bishop said, “there is opportunity for it to use its own budget to [fund] activities that Australia would never support.”

The message from the US and Australia couldn’t be clearer: Aid is not unconditional, and unlike the PA, our government does not reward terror. More countries should follow suit, hammering home the message that the international community can and will support Palestinians – but not while they cheer and reward the slaughtering of Israeli innocents.

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