Former Labor frontbencher Tony Piccolo. Picture: Roger Wyman
Labor has used its parliamentary majority in South Australia to call for the recognition of “the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel”, making it the only Australian legislative body to formally back Palestine statehood.
The motion ...calls on the Australian government to
"recognise the state of Palestine (as we have recognised the state of Israel) and announce the conditions and time lines to achieve such recognition".The resolution, put forward by dumped Labor frontbencher Tony Piccolo, also seeks confirmation that unless measures are taken, a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict will “vanish”. The non-binding motion also opposes continuation of Israeli settlement building. A similar motion will be raised in the upper house by the Greens.
[Note that just a few days before, in response to a call by South Australian MP, Robert Brokenshire, to sanction Qatar becuase of its support for terrorism, Premier Jay Weatherill said it was fraught for Mr Brokenshire to intrude on matters of foreign affairs. “I’m going to leave matters of foreign affairs and international relations to my federal colleagues,” he said. - SL]
...Mr Piccolo was elected alongside Deputy Opposition Leader Vickie Chapman as co-convener of the Parliamentary Friends of Palestine, less than two years after the SA Parliamentary Friends of Israel was launched. Ms Chapman, a member of both groups, joined Liberal MPs in unsuccessfully moving to adjourn the motion, and later spoke against it.
She said parliament should be “looking at how we advance and ensure the management of this in a structured way that is not just going to cause further discourse”.
Liberal frontbencher Dan van Holst Pellekaan said most state MPs “do not have nearly enough information to make a genuinely informed decision on this issue, which has perplexed the international community for decades”.
...Anti-Defamation Commission chairman Dvir Abramovich slammed the motion as unhelpful, premature and harmful to chances for lasting reconciliation.
“With this one-sided and unconstructive motion, which turns reality inside out and which does not bother with the facts, the SA parliament has embraced long-time inaccuracies and misguided narratives,” Dr Abramovich said.
“Worse, the motion blames the Israeli government for the impasse, but fails to hold the Palestinian Authority responsible for their own obstructionist actions, particularly its continuous incitement and refusal to engage in bilateral talks.”
Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham, a South Australian, said the motion showed the “warped priorities” of the Weatherill government as the state faced the nation’s highest jobless rate and a crippling energy crisis. “It’s beyond laughable that the Weatherill government ... thinks they know the pathway to Middle East peace,” he said.