Aussie lawmaker: UNRWA ‘notoriously corrupt’


SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — A Jewish Australian lawmaker slammed a United Nations agency that administers aid for Palestinian refugees as "notoriously corrupt."

Michael Danby, a longstanding pro-Israel Labor legislator, in a blistering speech Wednesday in federal parliament in Canberra, said Australia’s $30 million in funding for Palestinians since 2007, largely through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, was being "diverted to arms purchases, terrorist operations and anti-Israel incitement, as well as into the pockets of the Palestinian Authority leadership."

"It is a betrayal of that generosity [by Australians] for this money to be wasted, stolen or misspent on rockets, guns, terrorism or incitement to hatred," Danby said.

Stressing that he was not opposed to humanitarian assistance for the Palestinians, "who have suffered over the past decade from the chronic corruption and mismanagement of the P.A.," Danby said UNRWA had "been maintained by the anti-Israel majority at the U.N. for purely political reasons."

"Most Western donor countries have been reluctant, for obvious political reasons, to call the P.A. or the U.N. to account for the theft and waste of their taxpayers’ money in the morass of corruption and political extremism that is Palestinian politics," Danby said.

"The British government, however, has recently indicated that it is unwilling to tolerate this any longer. Other governments should take a similar stand."

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