04 June 2019

Transferring this Blog to Facebook

Dear Reader

This Blog has been superseded by Facebook.

 I don't intend to post here any further because it is much easier to post on Facebook.

To continue to stay informed of items of interest to Australians who support Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, selected by me, go to the Israel Issues Watchdog Facebook Page. By clicking "Like" (at the top-left of the page), postings there will be added to your News feed on Facebook.

Thanks for your interest....

Warm regards
Steve Lieblich

20 May 2019

70th anniversary of Australia’s formal diplomatic relationship with the State of Israel

Statement by Steve Minnikin at Queensland State Parliament, 3 April 2019:

Mr MINNIKIN (Chatsworth—LNP) (7,06 pm): I would like to officially acknowledge the 70th anniversary of Australia’s formal diplomatic relationship with the State of Israel and affirm our deep friendship with the people of Israel. This year marks a special occasion between two democratic countries: our own, Australia, and the State of Israel. On 29 January 1949 Australia formally recognised the State of Israel, establishing diplomatic relations between our nations which has lasted 70 years. Israel is a young country, but has achieved so much. From Nobel Peace Prize winners, world first discoveries, lifesaving technologies to music and the arts, Israel is often referred to as the miracle nation. Our two countries have much in common, from the democratic values we both hold to our pioneering, innovative spirits. These are also values and history that are reflected for us here in Queensland.

Our common history with Israel goes back way before the formal diplomatic relations to World War I when young Queenslanders played a crucial role in the Allied forces’ campaign in the Middle East, particularly the legendary Light Horse Brigade, which fought in crucial battles against the Turks in Beersheba in Israel. Queensland was also recipient of Holocaust survivors following World War II, many of whom have added greatly to the fabric of our state. I want to acknowledge the contribution by these resilient survivors and their families to the economic and cultural life of Queensland.

In areas such as water, science and innovation, defence industries and many other sectors, Queensland and Israel have been collaborating to solve some of the major challenges facing our state. In fact, just a month or so ago, three of the world’s leading water experts from Israel visited Queensland to share ideas and know-how designed to tackle the severe drought using some state-of-the-art technologies developed in Israel. In May it will be a Queenslander, Kate Miller-Heidke, who will be representing Australia in the popular song contest, Eurovision, being held in Tel Aviv.

Our glorious state of Queensland and the miracle State of Israel are connected, not just through friendship, but also a commitment to the rule of law, democracy, multiculturalism, diversity, a free press and support for its citizens to innovate. Since 2014, I have had the honour to convene the inaugural Queensland Parliamentary Friends of Israel, a group established in a true bipartisan manner. This group remains active and I thank all those members who participate and encourage all members to interact where they can. The charter of the group includes fostering cultural links and opportunities between Israel and Queensland; encouraging the development of friendly relations and ties between the Queensland parliament and Israel; and enhancing interaction between Queensland and Israel through meetings and discussions with Israel’s representatives and the Israeli and Jewish communities in Queensland.

Today I would like to formally acknowledge the 70th anniversary of Australia’s diplomatic relations with this highly valued and mutually respectful friend. Given recent events around the world, we need cultural understanding more than ever.

The Hawke Years, 1983-1991

In honour of Bob Hawke, we revisit this extract from

A Distant Affinity: The History of Australian-Israeli Relations

                                                Jewish Political Studies Review 19:3-4 (Fall 2007)

The Hawke Years, 1983-1991

The man who defeated Fraser in the March 1983 election was already well known for supporting Israel and other “Jewish” causes such as Soviet Jewry. Former trade union leader Bob Hawke had developed a strong affinity for Israel during a 1971 (and subsequent 1973) visit to the country, forming good relations with officials from the Histadrut trade union movement, along with what has been called a “platonic love affair” with Golda Meir. Both Jerusalem and a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum profoundly moved him.[77]
Following the visit Hawke became involved in pro-Israeli activity. He attacked Whitlam for his policies during the 1973 war, delivered speeches and wrote a booklet arguing Israel’s case, and fought anti-Israeli segments of the ALP and union movement. He also became an internationally recognized champion of the campaign to free Soviet Jews.[78]
Although Hawke’s ardor for Israel cooled somewhat after the Israeli Labor Party was defeated by the right-wing Likud in the 1977 election, he came to office with both Jewish and non-Jewish Australians well aware of his pro-Israeli history. Nevertheless, Israeli-Australian relations proved more complex and disputatious during the eight years of Hawke’s prime ministership than might have been expected.
Hawke formulated an original plan for peace in the late 1970s whereby Israel would withdraw to the 1967 boundaries but would have the right, if attacked from the vacated territories, to counterattack and permanently retain any land it recaptured.[79] Throughout his political career Hawke aspired to play a mediating or peacemaking role in the Middle East.
The Middle East policy of Hawke’s government, at least until about 1988, largely mirrored that of the Fraser years though with perhaps some more receptivity to Palestinian and Arab approaches, especially regarding the role of the PLO. During the election campaign, Hawke reiterated what had essentially been the Fraser government’s policy in the early 1980s: support for Israel’s right to “secure and recognized boundaries” but also for the “right of the Palestinians to their independence and the possibility of their own independent state.”[80]
In September 1983, shortly after taking office, the Hawke government announced changes in Australian policy including support for the establishment of an Arab League office in Australia and allowing Australian ambassadors to meet PLO representatives “in their range of political contacts.” However, when Jewish leaders met Hawke to express concern, they were reassured that the Arab League would not be allowed to use any office to engage in activity relating to a boycott of Israel or firms trading with Israel; that there was no change in Australia’s policy of not recognizing the PLO as long as it denied Israel’s right to exist; and that Australia would continue to avoid supporting one-sided UN resolutions proposed by “those countries seeking to delegitimize Israel.”[81]
In December 1983, Hawke had a confrontation over Israel with Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi during a British Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in New Delhi. He successfully insisted on changes to a clause in the final communiqué calling for the withdrawal solely of Israeli forces from Lebanon, demanding that it call for all foreign forces to leave, especially Syria’s.[82]
The Hawke years also saw the first visit by a serving Israeli president to Australia and, reciprocally, the first visit by a serving Australian prime minister to Israel. President Chaim Herzog’s visit took place in November 1986; Hawke made a three- day trip to Israel in January 1987. Herzog’s visit was ceremonial but successful. “Australia,” he said, “has stood by our side on many occasions in the difficult years preceding the establishment of the State of Israel and since its establishment.”[83] Welcoming him, Hawke said that the “friendship between our countries goes back to the foundation of the modern state of Israel.”[84]
Hawke also had a positive visit, and was welcomed by Israeli newspapers recalling the role of Australian soldiers in Palestine during both world wars. He clearly continued to feel a connection and again was emotional after visiting Yad Vashem. Israeli leaders asked for Australian help in reaching out to Asian and Pacific nations, and for progress in establishing direct air connections to Australia.[85] At his final press conference, Hawke reiterated Australian policy on the need to resolve the Palestinian problem and expressed hope that mutual Israeli-PLO recognition might soon be achievable.[86]
Australia’s UN voting during the Hawke government was somewhat less pro-Israeli than during the Fraser years. Australia preferred more to vote with the majority of Western nations on Middle Eastern issues, whereas the Fraser government had been more willing sometimes to be in the minority.[87]
One major achievement at the United Nations in this period was the Hawke government’s role in the successful campaign to rescind the 1975 “Zionism is racism” resolution. Australia began intense involvement in this effort in October 1986 when Hawke introduced a motion to the Australian parliament deploring the resolution and calling for its annulment. With bipartisan support, this passed almost unanimously. The U.S. Congress followed suit shortly afterward. Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, Australia made it a priority in its routine relations with neighboring Pacific and Southeast Asian nations to solicit their support for repealing the resolution, finally achieved in December 1991.[88]
However, the late 1980s also saw increasing Australian-government criticism of Israel, especially concerning its handling of the First Intifada and its refusal to countenance talks with the PLO after its 1988 declaration, which Australia (and the United States) accepted as constituting recognition of Israel. On the former point, Foreign Minister Hayden, visiting Israel in February 1988, said Israel’s “sometimes arbitrary and violent” handling of the crisis caused “profound distress” and added, “I must be honest: Australia cannot agree with this.” Hawke in parliament proposed passing a bipartisan resolution expressing concern about Israeli policies in the territories.[89]
In April 1989, Australia’s UN ambassador, Dr. Peter Wilenski (who was Jewish) delivered a very one-sided condemnation of Israeli policies in the territories and even apologized to the Saudi ambassador for Israel’s alleged mistreatment of people seeking to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.[90] In March 1990, the Hawke government issued a Middle East policy statement that for the first time insisted that East Jerusalem was part of the West Bank, something that had always been ambiguous in Australian statements previously.[91]
Matters changed somewhat following the outbreak of the Gulf crisis prompted by Iraq’s August 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Hawke quickly backed U.S. and UN action to reverse the invasion and committed three Australian naval vessels to the military coalition. Contacts with the PLO were also frozen in the wake of Arafat’s backing of Saddam Hussein. Hawke also firmly opposed linkage, the argument advanced by Iraq and some commentators that Israel should withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza as part of a deal for Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait.
However, probably Australia’s greatest contribution to the war effort was through use of the Nurrungar and Northwest Cape communication bases, run jointly with the Americans. These provided real-time data on Iraqi missile launches, and crucial satellite communication links.[92] After the war it was confirmed that Australia had provided Israel with top-secret information from Nurrungar warning of the Iraqi Scud launches against Israel, based on satellite infrared detections. Attacked for this after the war by left-wing groups opposed to the bases, Australian defense minister Senator Robert Ray said, “Essentially the [antibases] coalition accuses me of allowing the Australian-American facilities at Nurrungar to be used to give early warning time to citizens of Israel that missiles are coming. If I am guilty of that…that is my proudest moment in politics.”[93] The parliament also passed a resolution deploring the Iraqi missile attacks on Israel. [94]

18 February 2019

Australian Greens have two faces and one is the ugliest of bigots

From The Australian, 13 February 2019, by JANET ALBRECHTSEN:

If Greens leader Richard Di Natale is appalled by bigotry and genuinely believes in tolerance and respect for people of different faiths, he must flush out the anti-Semit­ism in his party.

.. the [Australian] Greens ...is a party of bigotry at the organisational level, yet no Greens MP is brave or honest enough to expose the hypocrisy. On the one hand, Greens spout sweet-sounding words about moral­ity, compassion and tolerance; on the other hand, the party endorses bigotry.

There are a few good people in the party. Last year, NSW Greens upper house MPs Cate Faehrmann and Justin Field said the party had fallen victim­ to “extreme­-Left ideology”. NSW Greens lower house MP Jamie Parker engages with the Jewish community too.

But even the good people have allowed the NSW party to fall into a habit of bigotry. History warns us that silence emboldens bigots, and that bigotry is a necessary pre­cursor to the sort of political ­fascism responsible for monstrous crimes against humanity.

We can disagree over Israeli politics and policies, the future of the Middle East peace process, settleme­nts, refugees and much more. We can condemn the action­s of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu too. It’s a free country. We get to speak our mind and choose who to associate with. But when a political party treats the members of a religious group as ­person­ae non gratae, refusin­g to meet them or speak with them, that is bigotry.

If the Liberal Party of Australia refused point blank to engage with credible Muslim groups, we would banish its members as ­bigots.

If the ALP continually ­rebuffed efforts to engage with Christian groups, we would out its members as bigots.

If the Nationals rejected overtures, over many years, to meet with a community on the basis of its members’ religio­n, race, sex or sexuality, we would vote them into political irreleva­nce as extremists.

Yet the Greens have a history of out-and-out organisational bigot­ry towards the Jewish community in NSW. A few turn up to mark Hanukkah in NSW parliament. But none of them have attended special events arranged by the Jewish community to build tolerance and respect.

Last Friday in Allawah, in ­Sydney’s south, Jewish leaders arrange­d a regular Shabbat dinner for different community groups, one of many dinners where people meet, eat and talk to other people from different walks of life.

There was a Shabbat dinner for Liberal Party leaders and member­s last year and another a few months earlier that included members of the LGBTI community. There was a dinner the year befor­e for Labor politicians, member­s of Young Labor and union leaders. Another one includ­ed many members from the Chinese community and other civic groups. Yet another dinner involved people and groups who help settle new immigrants.

You get the picture. You would be hard-pressed to find more genuinely inclusive events. These are non-political. Yet still the Greens have, for years, refused to be part of these dinners.

At last Friday’s dinner, guests included Labor and Liberal politic­ians, state and federal, councillors, leaders from the local Anglican church, a leader of the Sikh community, the chairman of Advance Diversity Services, a leader from the Korean community and the president of a local Rotary Club too. But no Greens politician.

In his closing remarks, Vic Alha­deff, who leads the NSW Jewis­h Board of Deputies and started these dinners, glanced around the room at the broad array of people, thanking them for laying down their arms to be there and on “the degree of stillness which we have collectively ­achieved in removing ourselves from our frenetic, hectic lives”.

The purpose of the dinners is simple yet important, “engaging as Australians … and using the opportunity to explore our commonalities, beliefs and shared values”.

Not to command agreement or to proselytise. To speak to one another­ as respectful human being­s.

Many Jews might be drawn to genuinely green policies about the environment. Yet the Greens’ extremism towards Jews precludes engagement. That is not tolerance. That is anti-Semitism.

It is hypocrisy of the highest order, given that the Greens read­ily condemn the bigotry of others. Last year, the party’s federal leader Richard Di Natale slammed ­senator Fraser Anning for using the language of the Nazis when he referred to a “final solution to the (Muslim) immigration problem”. Di Natale said such language was “vile, racist, bigoted and has no place in our society”. Agreed.

The bigotry of the Greens has no place in Australia either. Sadly, the NSW Young Greens have learned the oldest hatred from their party organisation. A few years ago, they refused to attend a conference held at NSW Parliament House by the Australasian Union of Jewish Students. Labor and Liberal students attended.

There are plenty of reasons not to attend a bolshie student conference, but refusing to speak to or be near Australian Jewish students is anti-Semitism. As the AUJS said at the time, the ­boycott, under the cloak of the Palestin­ian problem, reduces all Australian Jewish students to one political issue 12,000km away. Not all Jews share the same views on any issue.

In recent months, neo-Nazi cowards hiding behind the Antipodean Resistance label have posted vile, bigoted and racist posters around Sydney and Melbourne. near schools, synagogues and other buildings.

They are the likely beasts who painted Nazi swastikas on a promenade wall at Sydney’s Bondi Beach at the weekend. Their active recruitment of more bigots is a moral monstrosity.

But let’s not kid ourselves. The organisational bigotry within the Greens is a slyer form of anti-Semiti­sm.

On Holocaust Remembrance Day in April 2017, the NSW Young Greens posted a Venn diagra­m on Facebook stating that Liberals and Labor love “locking people in concentration camps”.

They’ve learned from their Greens elders to engage in abhorrent Holocaust minimisation, likening offshore processing to determine refugee status to concentration camps where millions of Jews were murdered.

If Di Natale and other Greens are appalled by bigotry and vile, racist behaviour, if they genuinely believe in tolerance and respect for people of different faiths, they need to flush out the anti-Semit­ism in their party.

Until then, the next time a Greens politician brags about their progressive credentials, remember the organisational bigotry by the Greens towards Australian Jews.

Right now, a vote for the Greens — primary or ­preference — is a vote for bigotry.

13 February 2019

The University of Sydney sacks academic Tim Anderson

From J-Wire, February 14, 2019:

Image result for tim anderson
Tim Anderson
Read on for article
The University of Sydney has dismissed controversial academic Tim Anderson following the suspension of his employment in December.
An employment review panel voted for Anderson’s dismissal by a 2-1 majority. Anderson has announced that he intends to legally challenge his dismissal.Anderson was found to have circulated lecture materials to his students in 2018 which, according to a letter from the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Stephen Garton, contained an “altered image of the Israeli flag” featuring a “cropped swastika.” The materials were allegedly used in a course on ‘Human Rights and Development’.
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Peter Wertheim commented: “The University did the right thing both in terms of principle and its own interests. Anderson has been an enthusiastic apologist for the regimes in Syria and North Korea which have systematically murdered their own people, while likening Israel, a genuine western democracy, with Nazi Germany. These sorts of statements fall squarely within the working definition of antisemitism adopted by the 31 democratic nations of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).”
Mr Wertheim noted that the IHRA working definition gives examples that “may serve as illustrations” of antisemitic statements, including:
Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
Applying double standards by requiring of Israel a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
According to Mr Wertheim, much of the material distributed by Anderson concerning Israel and international affairs amounts to “little more than propaganda”.
“This material has been presented with a gossamer-thin veneer of what passes for‘scholarship’ among the University’s small number of anti-Israel academics, in an attempt to make it seem respectable to the public and impressionable students. Anderson is entitled to his own outlandish views, but he does not have the right to impose them on students, or to compromise the reputation of the University and its wider academic community for maintaining high intellectual standards.”

06 February 2019

Amnesty International has lost its moral way with regard to Israel

The following article has been published in The Australian, 31 January 2019, by Alex Ryvchin:

Amnesty International has unveiled a new campaign to pressure digital tourism companies such as Booking.com, Expedia, Airbnb and TripAdvisor to delist properties held by Israelis living in the West Bank, and calling on governments to pass legislation that would result in the total boycott of those living in Israeli settlements.
It is just the latest attack in a long war waged by Amnesty and other once-respectable human rights organisations intent on turning public opinion against Israel and bringing about its economic and political isolation.
The origins of this lie in an infamous non-governmental organisations forum of the UN World Conference against Racism held in Durban, South Africa, in September 2001. The conference lives long in the memory for the appalling racism that marred an event convened for the very purpose of combating such conduct. Posters displayed Jewish caricatures and Nazi icons, and participants circulated copies of the anti-Semitic fabrication, Protocols of the Elders of Zion. US congressman Tom Lantos called it “the most sickening display of hate for Jews since the Nazi period”. The UN’s human rights commissioner, Mary Robinson, told the BBC “there was a horrible anti-Semitism present”.
Against this backdrop, the conference of more than 1500 representatives of international NGOs adopted a resolution that defined Israel as a “racist, apartheid state”, and called for the launch of a “global solidarity campaign” targeting governments, UN agencies and civil society to achieve the “complete and total isolation of Israel”.
This co-ordinated attack on Israel’s very existence and legitimacy, including through various forms of boycott, divest and sanctions campaigns on campus, and among trade unions, government and civil society, became the vehicle through which new generations of thought leaders would be exposed to the characterisation of the Jewish state as a uniquely wicked, unjust project that had to be unwound for the good of humanity. Amnesty was a key player in Durban and in the adoption of the resolution, and has been at the forefront of the campaign ever since.
In 2002, following an Israeli military operation in the West Bank city of Jenin in response to the Passover massacre in Netanya, in which a Palestinian suicide bomber murdered 30 civilians during a celebratory feast, Amnesty accused Israel of carrying out war crimes and massacres of Palestinian civilians. The allegations, promptly reported by the BBC and other news outlets, placed the Palestinian civilian death toll at more than 500. But 52 Palestinians died, the majority of them combatants, along with 23 Israeli soldiers, in fierce urban combat.
False allegations of a massacre made by Amnesty lubricated the machinery of the political campaign against Israel, leading to street protests, campus hearings, reams of condemnations and anti-Israel resolutions across civil society and government.
In 2015, Amnesty was forced into a humiliating admission that it had lobbied the Australian government to accept murderous Lindt Cafe terrorist Man Haron Monis as a genuine refugee.
Last April, Amnesty’s secretary-general called Israel’s democratically elected government “rogue”. In 2010, the head of its Finnish branch called Israel a “scum state”. Its British campaign manager has likened Israel to Islamic State and been condemned for his attacks on Jewish parliamentarians.
Perhaps as revealing as Amnesty’s fixation on Jews living on the “wrong” side of a long-defunct armistice line has been its relative silence on the disturbing trend of rising anti-Semitism. In April 2015, Amnesty UK rejected an initiative to “campaign against anti-semitism in the UK”, as well as “lobby the UK government to tackle the rise in anti-Semitic attacks in Britain” and “monitor anti-Semitism closely”. It was the only proposed resolution at the annual general meeting that was not adopted.
The skewed morality revealed by Amnesty’s obsession with Israel reflects a broader decline in the non-governmental sector. Whereas groups such as Amnesty and Human Rights Watch once led the struggle against Soviet tyranny and actively defended the rights of political prisoners, today they serve an increasingly narrow political agenda, one aligned with anti-Western, anti-capitalist forces. Amnesty’s apparent contempt for Israel, its ho-hum attitude to anti-Semitism, and its inordinate condemnations of democracies all stem from this malaise.
Of course, the settlements are a point of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Indeed, the parties identified settlements as a final status issue in the historic Oslo Accords signed between the Palestine Liberation Organisation and Israel in 1993. It was agreed that the questions of which settlements will be annexed to Israel and which will be dismantled or transferred to Palestinian sovereignty are to be resolved in direct negotiations in the context of a final peace agreement. But the pursuit of peace is not aided by Amnesty’s political manoeuvres and attempts to isolate Israel, which perpetuate conflict by other means.
Alex Ryvchin is the author of The Anti-Israel Agenda — Inside the Political War on the Jewish State (Gefen Publishing), and co-chief executive of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.

02 January 2019

Christian Zionists welcome Australia’s support for Israel ...with reservations...

From Bridges for Peace, December 21, 2018:

Pro-Israel Christian Zionists welcome Australia’s support for Israel and recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel – but also express some concerns 

On Saturday 15th December Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison announced the Australian government's new foreign policy on various Middle East issues, including the Israel-Palestine conflict. 

Following an extensive review process since the Prime Minister’s announcement in October that he intended to review Australia’s policies on certain issues, the Prime Minister reaffirmed Australia’s unwavering support for the right of the State of Israel “to exist within secure and internationally recognised borders”. He went on to state that Australia’s national interests are well served by our productive and increasingly diverse relationship with Israel. Australia has always been one of Israel’s greatest friends and I intend for that to remain the case. This is underpinned by our nation’s shared values, including our commitment to democracy and the rule of law.”

The Prime Minister condemned in the strongest possible terms “the biased and unfair targeting of Israel in the UN General Assembly”, which has become “the place where Israel is bullied and where anti-Semitism is cloaked in language about human rights. It is where Israel is regularly accused of what Rabbi Jonathan Sacks called the “five cardinal sins against human rights: racism, apartheid, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and attempted genocide.”

The government also restated its position that regards Hamas as “terrorists who use the Israel-Palestinian conflict as an excuse to inflict terror”, an “condemns Hamas’ activities in the strongest possible terms”.

Regarding the Israel-Palestine dispute, the Prime Minister emphasized that Australia’s policy is guided by two principles: its “commitment to a two-state solution” (“a secure Israel and future Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security within internationally recognised borders”), which it regards as “the only viable way to resolve the Israel-Palestine dispute”, and Australia’s “longstanding respect for relevant UN Security Council resolutions”. 

Accordingly, the government has decided that “Australia now recognises West Jerusalem, being the seat of the Knesset and many of the institutions of government, is the capital of Israel”.

The Prime Minister stated that "furthermore, recognising our commitment to a two-state solution, the government is also “resolved to acknowledge the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a future state with its capital in East Jerusalem”, 

As a result, Australia will establish a defence and trade office in Jerusalem, and only move the embassy in support of and after final status determination". 

The new policy was immediately condemned by the opposition and by many in the Islamic world, and rejected by the PLO. Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat even called on Arab and Muslim countries to sever all diplomatic ties with Australia because of the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. 

Representing a broad collective of pro-Israel Christian Zionists, Christians for Israel and Bridges for Peace welcome the announcement. The government should be commended for boldly reasserting Australia’s deeply-rooted support for the State of Israel. Recognising West Jerusalem as Israel's capital is seen to be a step in the right direction, and will hopefully lead to the moving of the Australian Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in due course. This recognition is an appropriate acknowledgement of Israel's sovereign right to determine its own capital city, and simply reflects the reality on the ground that all institutions of government are located in Jerusalem. 

However many of this collective voice representing Christians who stand for Israel have some concerns about the government’s distinction between "East" and "West" Jerusalem. The Australian Government's "acknowledgement of Palestinian aspirations for Statehood with East Jerusalem as capital", and the statement that the moving of the embassy will only occur as and when a State of Palestine has been established pursuant to negotiations will not assist the negotiations or make a Palestinian state more likely, because they do not address the main causes of the problem: the structural promotion of terror by the Palestinian Authority, the continued refusal of the PLO to recognize Israel as a Jewish State, the ambitions of most Palestinian groups to destroy the Jewish State and replace it with an Islamic State, and the failure of the Palestinians – notwithstanding billions of dollars of foreign aid - to create the conditions necessary for statehood. 

It is a great pity that the government has recommitted itself to the “Two State Solution” as the “only viable way to solve the dispute”. The reality is that the Palestinian claims are irreconcilable with the legitimate rights of the State of Israel. Negotiation about Palestinian statehood is a dead-end street. The Oslo agreements do not require the creation of a Palestinian state, but leave open the question whether Palestinian self-determination can be satisfied by alternative means. This would have been an ideal opportunity for the Australian government to have played a leading role in helping the parties to explore alternative solutions that will guarantee both Israel’s security and the Palestinians’ legitimate aspirations for autonomy. 

Further, the “acknowledgement” of Palestinian claims to “East Jerusalem” also prejudices Israel's position in its negotiations concerning the territorial status of Jerusalem, which is a final status issue under the Oslo agreements. Israel's position is that the whole of the city of Jerusalem belongs to the sovereign territory of the State of Israel on its establishment in May 1948. It is only because of Arab aggression that the city was divided between 1949 and 1967. The UN Security Council demanded in 1980 (UNSC Resolution 476) that foreign embassies in Israel be moved from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, following Israel's reunification of the city after the 1967 Six Day War. In Israel's view, UN Security Council Resolution 476 is based on an erroneous belief that "West" Jerusalem does not belong to the State of Israel. 

Israel’s claim to sovereignty over the unified city of Jerusalem is based on the San Remo resolution (1920) and the Mandate for Palestine (1922), pursuant to which the whole city of Jerusalem became part of the State of Israel on its establishment in 1948. Further, it is important to emphasise that UN Security Council resolutions on this issue are not binding. It is also significant that Resolution 476 conflicts with the earlier Security Council Resolution 242 (November 1967), which (amongst other things) implicitly acknowledged that Israel has legitimate territorial claims to at least part of the territories captured in 1967, and its right to secure borders. The PLO and Israel have agreed (in the Oslo Accords) that the principles laid down in Resolution 242 form the basis for their negotiations. It is entitled to assert its claims to territorial integrity in its negotiations with the PLO.  

While we commend the government’s commitment to the international “rules-based order”, in our view it gives too much weight to Security Council resolutions. While Security Council resolutions are important and should be treated with respect, Security Council resolutions under Chapter VI of the UN Charter are not binding, and the Council has in any event no jurisdiction to limit or compromise the territorial integrity of individual states.

For several years, Christians for Israel and Bridges for Peace have been facilitating grass roots initiatives on behalf of a much wider collective voice of pro Israel Christian Zionists liaising with the Australian government and Members of Parliament in Canberra to encourage the Australian government to recognise the unified city of Jerusalem as capital of Israel. In 2017, a petition with over 8000 signatures was delivered to the Australian Parliament requesting the Australian Parliament to take immediate action to move our embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the “eternal and indivisible capital of Israel”.The petition was endorsed by Senator James Paterson, who in his maiden speech in 2016 stated“I do not believe that the international community can continue to refuse to recognise their capital city of choice and the clear reality on the ground.  It would be a symbolic but important step for Australia to formally recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city and to move our embassy there.”