It was disappointing to hear the remarks made by Foreign Minister Bob Carr outside Lakemba Mosque at the celebrations to mark Eid al-Fitr on Thursday. While we commend Senator Carr for recognising that Palestinian statehood aspirations require “respect for the right of Israel to exist”, it is unfortunate that he did not take the opportunity to also recognise the need to ensure Israel’s security, to call for an end to all rocket attacks against Israeli civilians and incitement by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas against the Israeli population, or to reiterate Australia’s support for the current peace talks between the
Israelis and the Palestinians.
His opinion that “settlements on Palestinian land are illegal under international law and should cease” is highly contentious. Any implication that the West Bank is sovereign Palestinian territory – something it has never been – prejudges core issues of the peace process that must be negotiated.
We call on the Foreign Minister to place realistic and informed support for a negotiated two-state peace at the centre of Australia’s approach to Israeli-Palestinian issues, and to refrain from one-sided statements which prejudge the outcome and complicate peace negotiations.