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Israeli Settlements

December 5, 2012

Foreign Minister Bob Carr yesterday instructed the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to call in Israel’s Ambassador to Australia, HE Mr Yuval Rotem, to convey the Australian Government’s grave concern at reports of Israeli decisions to build 3,000 new housing units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, to unfreeze planning in the area known as E1 and to withhold tax revenue from the Palestinian Authority.

“These actions enormously complicate the prospects for resuming negotiations between the two sides,” Senator Carr said.

Speaking from Papua New Guinea, Senator Carr said the Australian Government had made clear its call to all sides not to exploit or overreact to last week’s vote in the United Nations General Assembly granting non-member observer state status to the Palestinian Authority.

“I am extremely disappointed with these reported Israeli decisions.

“Australia has long opposed all settlement activity.

“Such activity threatens the viability of a two-state solution without which there will never be security in Israel.

“Israel’s reported decision to unfreeze planning of the area known as E1 is especially counter-productive.

“Australia has also conveyed these concerns to the Israeli authorities in Jerusalem.

“The Australian Government urges both sides to return urgently to the negotiation table in good faith,” Senator Carr said.

The meeting between DFAT officials and Ambassador Rotem took place at 2:00pm yesterday in Canberra.

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4 Comments
  1. December 5, 2012 8:53 am

    I’m glad Australia is now more forcefully for peace and a just solution. I also Have Canadian citizenship. Canada, on this issue, betrays it famous fairness and honest broker history

  2. John Mountbatten permalink
    December 5, 2012 9:17 am

    Exactly – all ‘settlement’ building is inimical to Peace.

  3. December 5, 2012 10:07 am

    Bob,

    May I congratulate you on finally coming to grips with this serious threat to world peace, the Israeli government’s determination to proceed with settlements that are built exclusively for Jewish people. The settlements are strategic, E1 is a prime example. The Israeli government is manipulating demographics and oppressing communities other than Jews. Settlements and the dividing wall are challenges to the very democracy that Israel claims to be.

    I would encourage you to stand your ground now that you have taken this position. Stand firm and be prepared for further challenges. The people behind the settlement movement are not readily persuaded, they hold extreme views that liberal-minded people would find very disturbing and they really don’t care about world opinion till it stares them in the face.

    Please keep an open mind on the shape of future negotiations on a Palestinian state. The USA is not necessarily the party most likely to be accepted as an honest broker. Suspend disbelief that other parties could be summoned or could step forward. Keep your courage on the way to accept whichever solution can be fairly negotiated. Do not be too eager to give the Israelis only what they demand at the expense of fuelling future conflicts. It might mean a two-state or a one-state solution.

    Above all things, remember what former Australian Prime Ministers, Gough Whitlam, Malcolm Fraser and Paul Keating have said recently and maintain a distinctly Australian view which is not merely a reflection of Washington talking points. An inability to express disquiet at Israeli military excesses in its assault on Gaza has diminished the world’s view of Australia. You can do some constructive re-building. Please do it.

  4. December 6, 2012 1:18 pm

    Bob, You called in the Israeli Ambassador to protest when the Israeli government announced the approval of 3,000 settlement housing units. We agree that these settlements are illegal and that they appear to be designed to scuttle any hope of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. So, how does it feel now that we know that the figure of 3,000 was just a figure the Israeli government calculated they could get away with (as they did in the case of the US government)? How does it feel when you find out that the real figure (for the time being) is more like 11,000 and that you were lied to by the Israeli Ambassador? It must, surely, be time to expel this Israeli Ambassador and insist on a replacement you can have confidence in (perhaps after six months or so). Please read this: 11 thousand units in one week – the government’s settlement offensive http://peacenow.org.il/eng/E1_3000_units Regards Willy Bach

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