26 July 2015

Biased anti-Israel resolution of the ALP Conference

My comments on the resolution of the ALP National Conference today are below, inserted in the actual wording of the resolution.

The Australian Labor Party Conference:

Affirms Labor’s support for an enduring and just two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on the right of Israel to live in peace within secure borders internationally recognised and agreed by the parties, and reflecting the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people to also live in peace and security within their own state.

“internationally recognised and agreed by the parties” is excellent, but this resolution goes on to impede agreement between the parties by blaming Israel only, and by holding out the prospect of unilateral recognition of a Palestinian-Arab state without that entity reaching any agreement with Israel
Deplores the tragic conflict in Gaza and supports an end to rocket attacks by Hamas and the exercise of the maximum possible restraint by Israel in response to these attacks.

This suggests a “moral equivalence” between a genocidal terrorist group and free democratic nation. HOW does the conference propose to “support… an end to rocket attacks by Hamas”? It doesn’t condemn the attacks or label them as illegal or immoral. Such criticism is reserved for Israel alone.
Supports a negotiated settlement between the parties to the conflict, based on international frameworks, laws and norms

Recognises in government Labor retained its commitment to two states for two peoples in the Middle East and specifically
“two states for two peoples” is good
Did not block enhanced Palestinian status in the General Assembly;

Restated the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is occupied territory;
Opposed Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land, recognising that a just, peaceful and enduring resolution will involve a territorial settlement based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps;

Held that the settlements are illegal under international law.
There is plenty of authoritative legal opinion that the settlements are legal. Calling them “illegal” is wrong, or at least a contentious statement.
In fact Jerusalem and the West Bank have never been under “Palestinian” sovereignty. No international law prevents Israel from controlling those territories gained in a defensive war, pending a negotiated settlement.
For several hundred years leading up to World War I, the region was part of the Ottoman Empire. After World War 1, the League of Nations granted Britain a mandate that empowered her to facilitate the creation of a “Jewish National Home” there.

Recognises that any resolution will be based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, a timeframe to end Israeli occupation, demilitarization of Palestinian territory, agreement on a solution to Palestinian refugee issues, and resolution of the issue of Jerusalem’s final status.

There are no “1967 borders”. Before the 1967 war, the belligerents were separated by an Armistice Line, which is simply where the opposing military forces were when the fighting stopped in 1949 (the “Green Line”). Beyond the Green Line were the Jewish Quarter of East Jerusalem and many villages that had been Jewish for hundreds or thousands of years and had been destroyed by Arab League forces in 1948-9. All parties agreed that the Green Line was not a final border. Final borders were to be subject to negotiated agreement between the parties….

Recognises that settlement building by Israel in the Occupied Territories that may undermine a two-state solution is a roadblock to peace. Labor calls on Israel to cease all such settlement expansion to support renewed negotiations toward peace.

This supports the PA demand that it wants a territory “without a single Jew” for its state, and is plain anti-Semitic. Israel has many Palestinian-Arab villages and 1.5 million Palestinian-Arab citizens inside the Green Line. Are these also “roadblocks to peace”? If the aim is peaceful co-existence between two states for two peoples, why can’t each state allow citizens of neighbouring states to live amongst them?
Rejects the boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

Condemns the comments of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during the recent elections where he ruled out a Palestinian state and further condemns his appeals to race during the campaign.

Binyamin Netanyahu did not rule out a Palestinian-Arab state, yet this resolution condemns only Israel’s PM. There is not a word of condemnation for genocidal terrorism and incitement to hatred which is endemic in Arab society.
Recognises a lasting peace will require a future State of Palestine to recognise the right of Israel to exist and the State of Israel to recognise the right of Palestine to exist.

Recognises the special circumstances of the Palestinian people, their desire for respect, and the achievement of their legitimate aspiration to live in independence in a state of their own. This is a cause Labor is committed to.
If however there is no progress in the next round of the peace process a future Labor government will discuss joining like minded nations who have already recognised Palestine and announcing the conditions and timelines for the Australian recognition of a Palestinian state, with the objective of contributing to peace and security in the Middle East.

Unilateral declarations like this impede progress towards peace and security; they don't promote it. Why should the Arabs negotiate a resolution and end of the conflict if the ALP and others around the world promise them statehood without reconciling with Israel?