11 April 2024

Federal Government considering recognising Palestine

| Chris Johnson
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Penny Wong

Foreign Minister Penny Wong says the Federal Government is considering recognising Palestine as a state. Photo: National Press Club.

Australia is considering recognising Palestinian statehood as a way to help secure peace in the Middle East and give Israel more stability.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong flagged the issue while delivering an address at the Australian National University on Tuesday (9 April), saying international recognition of Palestine as a state should be progressed.

“We need to build the pathway out of the endless cycle of violence. We need to build the pathway to a peace that is enduring, and just,” she said.

“Because the simple truth is that a secure and prosperous future for both Israelis and Palestinians will only come with a two-state solution.

“Recognition of each other’s right to exist. A Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel.

“We are now 30 years on from the Oslo Accords that put Palestinian statehood at the end of a process.

“The failures of this approach by all parties over decades – as well as the Netanyahu Government’s refusal to even engage on the question of a Palestinian state – have caused widespread frustration.”

Senator Wong said Australia was joining the international community in considering the question of Palestinian statehood as a way of building momentum towards a two-state solution.

She said a two-state solution was the only hope of breaking the endless cycle of violence.

And she refuted claims that recognition is rewarding an enemy.

Firstly, she said, because Israel’s own security depends on a two-state solution.

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“There is no long-term security for Israel unless it is recognised by the countries of its region …,” the Minister said.

“Second, because there is no role for Hamas in a future Palestinian state. Hamas is a terrorist organisation which has the explicit intent of the destruction of the state of Israel and the Jewish people.

“And it should be acknowledged that Hamas also rains terror on the Palestinian people in Gaza.

“It has long been understood that any future Palestinian state cannot be in a position to threaten Israel’s security and will need a reformed Palestinian Authority.”

Senator Wong again denounced the atrocities of Hamas on 7 October last year, as the greatest loss of Jewish life in a single day since the Holocaust.

She added that, unlike Hamas, the State of Israel was not a terrorist organisation and it shouldn’t be acting like one.

“Any country under attack by Hamas would defend itself – and in defending itself, every country is bound by the same fundamental rules,” she said.

“Israel must comply with international humanitarian law.

“It must make major and immediate changes to the conduct of its military campaign, to protect civilians, journalists and aid workers.

“It must comply with the binding orders of the International Court of Justice, including to enable the provision of basic services and humanitarian assistance at scale …

“Hamas is a terrorist organisation. It is proscribed as such in Australia. It has no respect for international law.

“Democracies seek and accept higher standards.”

The Minister’s speech also went to how the Middle East tragedy is playing out in Australian debate, saying it was “disheartening to witness” the number of Australians that increasingly struggle to discuss the conflict without condemning their fellow citizens.

“This imperils our democracy. We have to keep listening to each other, respecting each other,” she said.

“But I have heard language demonstrating that people are losing respect for each other’s humanity. Blatant antisemitism and Islamophobia.

“I’ve heard people who claim to represent one perspective, diminishing the legitimacy of the other. Seeking to intimidate and blame.

“It’s not OK to blame anyone in Australia for the actions of Hamas.

“It’s not OK to blame anyone in Australia for the actions of the Netanyahu Government.

“And it’s not OK to excuse egregious acts, just because they’re done by people whose views you share.

“We gain nothing by reproducing the conflict here, by talking past each other, by shouting each other down and by insisting on respective absolutes.”

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Senator Wong pointed the finger at both the Greens and at Opposition Leader Peter Dutton “manipulating legitimate and heartfelt community concern for their own ends”.

“The Greens political party is willing to purposely amplify disinformation, exploiting distress in a blatant and cynical play for votes, with no regard for the social disharmony they are fuelling,” she said.

“This is not some game. There are consequences.

“At the same time, Mr Dutton reflexively dismisses concern for Palestinians as Hamas sympathising.”

Shadow Foreign Minister Simon Birmingham, however, responded saying the government would be putting “statehood before security” if it preemptively recognised a Palestinian state.

“A two-state solution will only be possible with security, and confidence that the right of each party to exist will be respected by the other,” Senator Birmingham said.

Original Article published by Chris Johnson on Riotact.

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