27 November 2013
The Hon Julie Bishop, MP
Minister for Foreign Affairs
House of Representatives
Canberra ACT 2600
We are gravely concerned about the shift in the position of the Australian Government in relation to illegal settlements by Israel on Palestinian Land, if indeed that position is accurately reported in the SMH on 25 November 2013.
Regardless of its persuasion and political considerations, it is almost inconceivable in our view that any Australian government would contemplate adopting any policy that could be seen as promoting or supporting the continued expansion of illegal settlements by Israel in the Occupied Territories of the Palestinian people which has gone on since 1967 in violation of multiple UN resolutions on this issue.
Israel’s illegal settlement have been roundly and rightly condemned worldwide, even by Israel’s traditional supporters, including USA and Canada, citing such settlements as the biggest obstacle to a just peace in the Middle East and to the mooted two-state solution.
By shifting its position, we consider Australia would be aligning us with a handful of countries, whilst some 158 other countries, including the whole of Europe, Asia and the rest of the world support the UN numerous resolutions calling for an end to Israeli illegal settlements, amongst other ongoing injustices inflicted by Israel against the Palestinian People.
Australia has benefited greatly from closer cooperation with the Arab and Islamic Worlds by their full endorsement of Australia’s ascendency to assume a valuable seat on the UN Security Council. We would have thought that the goodwill with the Arab and Islamic Worlds could be in jeopardy if Australia turns a blind eye to the aspirations of the Palestinian people for their own homeland.
We respectfully request that our government not lose sight of the undeniable fact that Palestine and the plight of the Palestinian people remain the central most concerning and most pressing issue to people of the Middle East, notwithstanding other current developments in the Arab World. This issue could also affect our future cooperation with the Arab World in terms of trade, security and cultural interactions. We also highlight the many Australian citizens, of Arabic background or not, who follow any progress or regress in the Middle East and share our stance.
We ask you and our government, not only not give comfort to, but indeed to condemn in the strongest terms the illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories and to continue to support the course of a just peace in Middle East.