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July 9, 2018 3:12 pm

‘Worthy of Being Spat On:’ Veteran Palestinian Authority Figure Nabil Shaath Denounces Australia’s Move Against ‘Pay-For-Slay’ Policy

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Veteran PA negotiator Nabil Shaath. Photo: Reuters / Ronen Zvulun.

A veteran of the PLO’s negotiations with the State of Israel during the 1990s has launched an extraordinary verbal attack on Australia, denouncing the country as “worthy of being spat on” following its government’s decision to cancel $10 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority.

“The truth is they are worthy of being spat on,” Nabil Shaath — a senior adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas — declared in a July 3 interview on official PA TV.

“Australians are the servants of the US,” Shaath added, pointing to Canberra’s record of supporting America and Israel at the United Nations.

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Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said on July 2 that Australia was canceling the aid, as she had not received assurances that the PA would not assign the money to cover its so-called “martyr payments” — salaries and welfare benefits to convicted or dead Palestinian terrorists and their families. Dubbed by critics as “pay-for-slay,” the payments, which cost the PA $350 million per annum, have been targeted by tough new domestic laws passed by US and Israeli legislators in recent months.

In his interview with the PA’s official broadcaster, Shaath said that he had been “angered greatly” by the Australian decision.

Long regarded as a Palestinian moderate whose efforts in pioneering political dialogue with Israelis helped reach the Oslo Accords of 1993 and 1995, Shaath condemned the “filthy talk of the criminals  in connection with our Martyrs and prisoners,” whom he lauded as Palestinian “heroes, the heroes of self-sacrifice and the candles of freedom.”

“They cannot be compared to the Israeli criminals in Israel’s prisons,” Shaath went on. Addressing the Australian government, he asserted, “I don’t want your 10 million, I don’t want to chase after them.”

Reporting on Shaath’s comments on Monday, The Australian newspaper added that it had been told “the United Kingdom is looking at a similar move, forcing greater transparency and accountability from Palestinian authorities.”

The paper noted that “this is not the first time aid to the [Palestinian] territories has come under scrutiny in Australia.”

The paper said that in 2016, Australia’s Foreign Ministry had “suspended its funding to World Vision programs in Pales­tine after Israel alleged the charity’s Gaza head funneled humanitarian funds to Hamas.”

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