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ALP, Greens, Democrats Join To Support ME Peace

ALP, Greens Join Australian Democrats In Supporting Peace Plan


Middle East News Service Comment – Sol Salbe

A step forward from the ALP [Australian Labour Party], possibly in line with their firmer policy on Iraq.

It is an open secret that the parameters of any genuine two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are more or less given. Essentially the Green Line between the Palestinian Occupied Territories and Israel becomes the border between the two states. There are other details but the big picture remains the same.

To that end the International Crisis Group initiated a statement of support not only for the principles but for the next obvious steps. These sort of steps get away from the mantras like “recognising the tight of Israel to exist” that have only been put there to stop any progress towards a negotiated settlement. The ICG’s Robert Malley listed the key elements of the process:

  • Any new process must be comprehensive and inclusive, enabling all parties with a recognised stake in the outcome to participate;

  • From the outset, it must provide a clear political horizon as well as a credible means of getting there;

  • It should be realistic, and reflect existing conditions on the ground;

  • It should involve far greater engagement of Arab states and of Europe, who need to seize the initiative rather than await an increasingly improbable US reawakening.

In the Australian senate the Leader of the Australian Democrats (Senator Allison): Moved the following resolution

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) the call last week by 135 respected global leaders, including former presidents, prime ministers, foreign and defence ministers, congressional leaders and heads of international organisations including Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Jimmy Carter, Mikhail Gorbachev, Bill Hayden, John Major and Mary Robinson, for a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict,

(ii) that everyone has lost in this conflict except the extremists throughout the world who prosper on the rage that it continues to provoke,

(iii) that every passing day undermines prospects for a peaceful, enduring solution and that, as long as the conflict lasts, it will generate instability and violence in the region and beyond,

(iv) the need for United Nations (UN) Security Council resolutions 242 of 1967 and 338 of 1973, the Camp David peace accords of 1978, the Clinton Parameters of 2000, the Arab League Initiative of 2002, and the Roadmap proposed in 2003 by the Quartet (UN, United States of America, European Union and Russia) to be implemented in resolving the conflict, and

(v) that the goal must be security and full recognition to the state of Israel within internationally-recognised borders, an end to the occupation for the Palestinian people in a viable independent, sovereign state and the return of lost land to Syria; and

(b) calls on the Government to join these world leaders in pressing for a new international conference, held as soon as possible and attended by all relevant players, at which all the elements of a comprehensive peace agreement would be mapped, momentum generated for detailed negotiations and steps taken by the key players, including:

(i) support for a Palestinian national unity government, with an end to the political and financial boycott of the Palestinian Authority,

(ii) talks between Israel and the Palestinian leadership mediated by the Quartet and reinforced by the participation of the Arab League and key regional countries, on rapidly enhancing mutual security and allowing revival of the Palestinian economy,

(iii) talks between the Palestinian leadership and the Israeli Government, sponsored by a reinforced Quartet, on the core political issues that stand in the way of achieving a final status agreement, and

(iv) parallel talks of the reinforced Quartet with Israel, Syria and Lebanon, to discuss the foundations on which Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-Lebanese agreements can be reached.

As expected, the Australian Greens whose own platform is very similar supported the resolution, The ALP ignored an attack on the statement by Sam Lipski in the Australian Jewish News and voted in favour. This marks a break with the me-tooism that characterised the party policy especially under Kim Beazley and Kevin Rudd.

The Liberals who voted against suggested a list of amendments which would have turned the resolution upside down and negated the whole thrust of the resolution:

According to Senator Allison, the Government said that they would only support a motion that had the following words:

  • We urge the Palestinian government to accept its international responsibilities and renounce violence, recognise Israel, and accept agreements made by previous Palestinian representatives.

  • Hamas, Islamic Jihad and others must renounce terrorism

  • We continue to support a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which recognises Israel's right to exist in peace and meets the aspirations of the Palestinian people, and support negotiations to this end.

  • Welcome the Australian Government's support to the people of Palestinian Territories (in 2006-7 financial year a commitment of $16.2 million being disbursed through the UN, multilateral organisations and NGOs)

  • We urge Syria to stop its support for terrorism and to abide fully by UNSCRs

  • All parties must accept Israel's right to exist in peace.

[Note the Liberals do not make a single demand on Israel.]

Many thanks to Sonja Karkar of Women for Palestine for drawing my attention both to the resolution and Lyn Allison’s account of the Liberals’ demands.

The entire statement as full list of signatories can be viewed at http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=4424&l=1&m=1

*************

[ The independent Middle East News Service concentrates on providing alternative information chiefly from Israeli sources. It is sponsored by the Australian Jewish Democratic Society. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the AJDS. These are expressed in its own statements]

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