Australia/Israel Review


In Greenland

Jun 27, 2023 | Ahron Shapiro

The Greens’ new policy means the party’s official stance has finally caught up with the increasingly radical statements and tweets coming from Greens Senators and MPs (Image: Australian Greens website)
The Greens’ new policy means the party’s official stance has finally caught up with the increasingly radical statements and tweets coming from Greens Senators and MPs (Image: Australian Greens website)

New party policy is off the planet

 

In its first update to its “Israel/Palestine” policy since 2010, the June 4 federal Greens Party national conference agreed on a patently delusional and duplicitous document. The conference’s resolution ends the party’s support for a negotiated two-state resolution without explicitly supporting an imposed one-state solution involving Israel’s dissolution – although it lays out a road map to achieve just that result.

This time, as in 2010, the Greens’ policy is rooted in a one-sided worldview that sets out, in their words, not to achieve peace, but to “rectify” Israel’s “injustice” perpetrated against Palestinians.

This time, as in 2010, the Greens disregard Israel’s generous offers of a state for the Palestinians, on virtually the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip (with mutually agreed land swaps and a capital in Jerusalem), at least three times since the turn of the century. Nor do they even acknowledge the historic 1993 Oslo Accords, which gave Palestinians their own Palestinian Authority government and security forces.

This time, as in 2010, the Greens’ policy does not mention Israel’s total withdrawal from Gaza in 2005.  Nor is there any reference to Hamas, which seized power from the PA in Gaza 16 years ago in a violent coup, and has controlled Gaza’s border with Egypt ever since.

The big difference, however, between the 2010 policy and the latest version, is that the new policy speaks out of both sides of its mouth. Previously, the Greens explicitly supported Israel and a new state of Palestine living side by side, with Jerusalem as their shared capital. No longer. 

Now the policy begins by paying lip service to “self-determination” for both Palestinians and “Israelis” (not Jews, interestingly, and it’s not clear how “Israelis” are to be defined). But then the rest of the policy clearly points towards replacing Israel with an Arab majority state which would encompass the entire area of what is now Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. It’s envisaged that this would happen in stages through a progression of Machiavellian manoeuvres which, the Greens hope, will be “endorsed by the UN.”

The recipe for this upheaval includes open-ended sanctions, boycotts, International Criminal Court (ICC) tribunals and even, by implication, military force against Israelis (i.e. “Israeli Jews”) to implement the so-called Palestinian “Right of Return” to pre-state Israel. Unlike in 2010, the Greens now suddenly insist this is international law. It isn’t, and it never has been.

The Greens apparently want us to forget that, until June 4, they did not consider the Palestinian “Right of Return” a right at all. Instead, they called for “a just and practical negotiated settlement of the claims of the Palestinian refugees that provides compensation for those who are unable to return to their country of origin, Israel or Palestine.” 

Promoting the “Right of Return”, the Greens’ goal, is a policy to end 75 years of Jewish-majority democratic rule in Israel by creating a Palestinian majority inside Israel. Moreover, the Greens advocate “the establishment of international mechanisms guided by international law to facilitate” the immigration of millions of descendants of Palestinian refugees and their extended families into Israel. In other words, if Israel does not agree to its own destruction by demographic means, “international mechanisms” will be employed to force it.

It is in this context, and this context alone, that the Greens claim to support “self-determination” for both Palestinians and Israelis: Israel can exist but only if Jews are the minority.

What happens after that? The Greens hope that international “peacekeeping” forces – presumably part of the same “international mechanisms” that enforced Israel’s destruction – will ensure a smooth transition from Israel’s demise to the new state. A more realistic scenario, however, recalls what happened after the UN voted on Nov. 29, 1947, for the partition plan of Mandate Palestine. 

The vote, interestingly, explicitly proposed two states for two peoples, a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews accepted it, the Arabs violently rejected it. What followed was essentially a brutal and very bloody civil war. Meanwhile, the British Mandatory garrison, acting as little more than “peacekeepers”, prevaricated and gradually abandoned the field. There is no reason to believe a repeat performance would end very differently.

About the only accurate assumption guiding the Greens’ resolution is that Israelis would never willingly agree to commit national suicide. Apparently, that’s just fine for the Greens, since their policy no longer foresees the need for any “negotiations” between Israelis and Palestinians at all. The word “negotiations” appeared in four key passages in their 2010 policy update, but not once in the new resolution.

Now the new policy calls on the “peacekeeping” forces to monitor the implementation and – you can’t make this stuff up – immediately implement six diktats that the Australian Greens have developed:

1. The immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the Israeli military from all Palestinian cities, towns, refugee camps, surrounding areas and transport routes, allowing freedom of movement of Palestinians.

2. The immediate release of Palestinian political prisoners and all Palestinian child prisoners held in Israeli detention.

3. The end of dispossession and destruction of Palestinian homes by the authorities of the state of Israel and Israeli settlers.

4. Palestinian control of their borders with Jordan and Egypt.

5. The immediate freezing of all Israeli settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including expansion, and the simultaneous commencement of the repatriation of the Israeli settlers from the Palestinian territories.

6. The immediate dismantling of the separation wall.

 

To say that the Australian Greens are just parroting Palestinian propaganda points without exhibiting any grasp of the weighty issues they are batting around, particularly the security aspects, would be merely stating the obvious. But this misses the bigger picture. This is protest-sign sloganeering masquerading as policy.

The new policy is a rambling rant, some 50% longer than the 2010 resolution it replaces. Much of the extra space was evidently reserved for offering some justification for the policy pivot from two states to one, and from a negotiated solution to an imposed one.

The June 4 resolution quotes gratuitously from the September 2022 Report of United Nations Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese. The report accused Israel of “settlercolonialist” [sic] actions that had “prevented the realisation of Palestinian people’s right to self-determination.” Yet of all the anti-Israel UN-generated pap to choose from, this quote says much more about the Greens than about Israel. Let’s recall that less than three months after publishing this report, Albanese had been exposed and discredited for earlier blatantly antisemitic social media posts.

Elsewhere in the resolution, the Greens “recognise that the state of Israel is practising the crime of apartheid.” Nothing really suprising there. Some left-wing NGOs and paid activists have repeatedly made the same false and ridiculous accusation, largely based on the accusation also being made by other left-wing NGOs and paid activists. And to justify the accusation they have had to invent a definition of apartheid which was developed only so it can be applied to Israel – even though it would probably also label most countries in the world as “apartheid” if similarly applied to them. 

On this point, however, the Greens appear to have taken their cue from the Palestinian strategy to “internationalise” the conflict against Israel. This began in 2012 with the Palestinian move to upgrade their status at the UN to “non-member observer state”. This opened up other fronts of Palestinian political attack on Israel, such as the International Criminal Court. And tellingly, the word “international” appears a whopping 18 times in the Greens’ document.

If all this wasn’t enough, the new policy is rife with its own contradictions. On one hand, it deems two states “unachievable” because of expanding settlements in the West Bank. But on the other hand, it sets out a preliminary goal of “the removal of Israeli settlers and Israeli security and military forces from all the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967” – a goal so important it’s repeated.

But if the settlers are to be removed, as the Greens are demanding, what is there to prevent the negotiated two-state peace outcome based on the pre-1967 lines which the Greens called for in 2010? Yet they reject this now. 

Here two prominent activists in the Jewish Greens, Larry Stillman and David Zyngier, may provide a clue. Writing for the Australian Jewish website Plus61j, they claimed that “J-Greens independently and forthrightly developed its own policy on [“Israel/Palestine”] for the Greens. So did Greens for Palestine. We negotiated through Senator Jordon Steele-John to establish consensus.”

Therein lies the unfortunate truth.  Arriving at a pro-Palestinian consensus can only reach as far as the Jewish Greens, and the price of admission for the Jews to be part of that consensus was embracing the Palestinian “Right of Return”. Moreover, Stillman and Zyngier explicitly concede that the Greens policy amounts to a call for Israel’s destruction, saying what they foresee is “the end of the state of Israel as a Zionist Jewish democratic republic, and indeed an independent state of Palestine, ‘from the river to the sea.’”

In other words, the Jewish J-Greens appear to have agreed to completely endorse the maximalist Palestinian program, and it’s hard to see what, if anything, they received in return. Almost the only thing Stillman and Zyngier claim the policy offers Jews is that they will still be allowed to “take pride in its renascent people and culture in the historic land, as Jews do” as Israel is destroyed.

The end result of all of this is the embarrassing, confused, self-contradictory and sloganistic excuse for a policy on “Israel/Palestine” that the Greens passed at their national conference.

In a race to the bottom with activist MPs and a rabidly anti-Israel base, the Greens’ official policies have finally caught up with the tweets their Senators have long been putting out. As a result, they’ve found themselves untethered from both real-world foreign policy and international diplomacy. Like the left-wing NGOs that they credit for the baseless linkage between Israel and “apartheid”, the Greens have voluntarily written themselves out of any serious discussion about policymaking on the Middle East.

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