MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS Senator the Hon. Bob Carr

AUSTRALIAN REPRESENTATIVE IN RAMALLAH

Illegality of Israeli settlements

TERRORIST ATTACK IN BULGARIA




MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS Senator the Hon. Bob Carr

February 6, 2013

AUSTRALIAN REPRESENTATIVE IN RAMALLAH

Foreign Minister Bob Carr has welcomed the appointment of Mr Thomas Wilson as Australia’s diplomatic Representative in Ramallah, replacing Ms Jenny Grant-Curnow.

Mr Wilson is a senior officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was previously posted to the Australian embassy in Riyadh from 2006 to 2009. During this time he undertook short-term assignments in Damascus and Baghdad.

Mr Wilson, who speaks Arabic, holds a Bachelor of Arts (languages) and Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from Macquarie University.

Australia is a major contributor to assistance for the Palestinian people. Our current allocation is $300 million over five years in development and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian people.

 

 

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS Senator the Hon. Bob Carr

February 6, 2013

Illegality of Israeli settlements

Foreign Minister Bob Carr reaffirmed today that all Israeli settlement activity in the Palestinian Territories is illegal.

This followed an attack by Tony Abbott’s Shadow Foreign Minister in the House of Representatives yesterday on the first day of Parliament in 2013.

Julie Bishop questioned Australia’s new Attorney General, Mark Dreyfus, on whether he agreed with Senator Carr’s assessment as Foreign Minister that settlements in the West Bank are illegal under international law.

Senator Carr said he advice he has received leaves no doubt that Israeli settlement activity is contrary to Israel’s obligations under international law and is therefore illegal.

“Our view is that Israeli settlement activity violates the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a party, as well as key provisions of occupation law and human rights law.

“This view is reflected in UN Security Council Resolutions 452 (1979) and 465 (1980) and the annual General Assembly Resolutions on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the Applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

“In its 2004 Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall on Occupied Palestinian Territories, the International Court of Justice unanimously concluded that the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories had been established in breach of international law.

“Governments including France and the United Kingdom, and the EU’s High Representative, have all referred to settlement activity as illegal.

“During the January 18 Australia-United Kingdom Ministerial Consultations in Perth I and Foreign Secretary Hague called on Israel to stop settlement activity and noted that settlements are illegal under international law.

“Decisions by the Israeli Government in late 2012 to build 3,000 new housing units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank and to unfreeze planning in the area known as E1 were particularly disappointing.”

“Settlements in the West Bank are an obstacle to the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution as they make the possibility of a future Palestinian state, based on the 1967 borders, increasingly unlikely.

“Australia reiterates its call for both sides to refrain from actions that undermine prospects for peace and to comply with their obligations under the Quartet's Roadmap for Peace and other previous agreements,” Senator Carr said. 

 

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS Senator the Hon. Bob Carr

February 6, 2013

TERRORIST ATTACK IN BULGARIA

The Bulgarian Government has today provided an update on its investigation into the bombing of an Israeli tourist bus at Burgas Airport on July 18, 2012, in which seven people were killed.

The Bulgarian Government has indicated that one person of interest in the matter may be an Australian passport holder and that there is a ‘justified assumption’ that two of the people involved belong to the military wing of the terrorist group Hezbollah.

The Australian Government has listed the Hezbollah External Security Organisation as a terrorist group since 2003. Support for or membership of this Organisation is an offence under Australian law.

 The Australian Federal Police has worked with Bulgarian authorities in pursuit of those responsible for the bombing.

All Australians would be proud that the AFP has played an important role in this investigation to date.

Australia continues to be a key player in regional and global efforts to identify and prevent terrorist operations.

The Australian Government condemns all acts of political violence and terrorism and welcomes today’s evidence of progress in this investigation.

Such attacks on innocent civilians are reprehensible in the extreme.

 Our thoughts remain with the friends and families of those killed in the attack, with the injured, and with the people of Israel and Bulgaria.


 














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