“While there are aspects in the Middle East resolution adopted at the ALP conference today that can be welcomed, its general tenor and threat to support unilateral recognition of a Palestinian State under a future Labor Government are disappointing. This approach is likely to undermine, rather than constructively encourage, progress toward a negotiated, durable two-state resolution that remains the bipartisan consensus in Australia”, commented AIJAC’s national chairman Mark Leibler and Executive Director Dr Colin Rubenstein.
“On the positive side are the calls for direct negotiations between the parties towards a two state outcome, for the end of rocket attacks by Hamas on Israel from Gaza, rejection of the BDS strategy, and call for demilitarisation of any Palestinian entity. Also welcome was the important recognition that any genuine two-state peace must be based on the formula of ‘two states for two peoples,'” Dr. Rubenstein added.
“Yet one-sided, problematic claims that all settlements are ‘illegal’ and Jerusalem ‘occupied’, and the false assertion that Prime Minister Netanyahu has permanently ruled out a Palestinian state when he has made clear repeatedly that he still seeks such an outcome, are very counter-productive toward achieving peace, especially at a time when the Palestinian side is declining to even negotiate directly with Israel. This is even more true of the threat that, if there is no progress in Palestinian/ Israeli negotiations, a future Labor government will discuss the timelines and conditions for the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state. There are few international diplomatic moves more likely to discourage a Palestinian return to serious and sustained negotiations than a promise that if negotiations fail, they will be given unilateral recognition anyway,” Dr. Rubenstein added.
“We trust that, despite these unhelpful shortcomings in the resolution, Labor Party leader Bill Shorten and his parliamentary colleagues will be still able to pursue a genuinely constructive approach, recognising some of the real obstacles to a final lasting peace which this resolution ignored – such as continued Palestinian incitement toward violence against Israel and Jews and the continued control of half the Palestinian polity by Hamas, with its rejectionism and unchanged genocidal ambitions. Such realism – as opposed to the ideology and prejudice which shaped elements of this resolution – remains the only way that Australia can continue to try to contribute to the viable, two state-outcome that rightly remains the goal of all Australia’s major political parties,” Mark Leibler concluded.
For further comment contact Colin Rubenstein: 03 9681 6660, 0418 339 721