AIJAC questions Australia co-signing “counter-productive” statement on settler violence
Dec 18, 2023 | AIJAC staff
Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council Executive Director Dr Colin Rubenstein has questioned Australia’s co-signing a statement with other nations, including France and the United Kingdom, that condemned what they claimed was “record high” violence from extremist settlers.
Dr Rubenstein said:
“This is a very one-sided, counter-productive statement.
It will be seen by Hamas and its cheerleaders as evidence that Western support for Israel is waning, especially in light of the decision by Australia to support a United Nations’ General Assembly ceasefire resolution this week.
For the record, Israel has denounced settler violence and when it happens, it is investigated and those responsible are arrested and detained.
However this statement fails to recognise the much larger problem of the sharp rise in Palestinian terrorism since October 7 in areas of the West Bank like Jenin – which are Islamist strongholds.
While this joint statement focusses solely on regrettable incidents of Jewish violence, Palestinians have carried out over 1,300 terrorist attacks on the West Bank and also in Jerusalem in the past two months.
That marks a major escalation in Palestinian terrorist activity. And it is being almost entirely ignored by Western leaders who are eager to ‘balance’ condemnation of Hamas by singling out sporadic Jewish extremism, which is already condemned by the Israeli Government and most of the Jewish world.
AIJAC believes a statement calling on Hamas to lay down its arms, surrender and release the hostages who are being used as human shields – would have been more appropriate, as well as condemning this explosion of terrorism in the West Bank.
It is important to note that Germany and the United States did not sign the agreement. Australia should have been with these two nations.
As for statements on the international legal status of settlements, these are indeed complicated questions, with varying views from learned experts. It should not be the role of our Government to make such legal determinations.”