Thursday, 14 May 2020
It's disappointing that once again the government have denied leave on this important motion, especially after bringing their own foreign policy motion on. Tomorrow, 15 May, is the day that Palestinians and their friends commemorate the Nakba, and now is a particularly critical time for Israel and Palestine and Palestinian human rights. Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu are undermining a two-state solution that could deliver peace and security to the Israelis and Palestinians. Netanyahu is intending to unilaterally implement parts of Trump's so-called peace plan and annex large swathes of the West Bank. It's time for Australia to speak up. We must oppose any illegal annexation and make it clear that there will be serious diplomatic consequences should it occur, just as there have been for other illegal annexations of territory.
I thank the Senate. I note that this motion refers, in part, to annexation plans by the Israeli government, and I want to make a short statement in respect of that component. Labor notes the Israeli government's stated intention to consider annexation of land in the West Bank after 1 July. Unilateral annexation of the West Bank would weaken the viability of any future Palestinian state and risk destabilising Israel's neighbours—a risk the world cannot afford. Labor continues to support a just and durable two-state solution to the conflict and encourages both parties to pursue direct negotiations to that end. We continue to call on both sides to refrain from any actions that hamper peaceful outcomes for both the Israeli and the Palestinian peoples.
In line with the government's longstanding view, motions that cannot be debated or amended should not deal with complex foreign policy matters. Successive Australian governments have recognised that a future Palestinian state is a final status issue to be negotiated directly between Israel and the Palestinians. We remain a supporter of a two-state solution where a Palestinian state exists alongside Israel in peace and harmony, within internationally recognised borders. Successive Australian governments have called on all parties to the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel to refrain from provocative actions that raise tensions or undermine the prospects of peace.