Thursday, 3 December 2020
Rabin, Mr Yitzhak
Before moving general business notice of motion No. 898 can I recognise the presence of Mr Gerstenfeld from the Embassy of Israel in the gallery. I, and also on behalf of Senators Kitching, Molan, Wong, Rennick, McLachlan, Keneally, Askew, O’Sullivan, Ryan, Antic, Carr, McGrath, Sheldon, Dean Smith, Van, Hughes, Henderson, Ciccone, Fawcett, O’Neill, Griff, Roberts and Hanson, move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) 4 November 2020 marked 25 years since Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated at an anti-violence rally in support of the Oslo peace process,
(iii) Yitzhak Rabin served as Israel's Prime Minister on two separate occasions, from 1974-1977, and then again from 1992 until his death in 1995, in addition to being a decorated general who led Israel's armed forces during the 1967 Six Day War, and served as Israel's Ambassador to the United States, and
(iv) Yitzhak Rabin promoted peace and co-existence in a turbulent time and region, concluding the Oslo Peace Accords with the Palestinians in 1993, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty in 1994; and
(b) affirms Australia's ongoing commitment to Yitzhak Rabin's vision of a peaceful and enduring two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, mutually negotiated and agreed by the Israelis and the Palestinians.
If this Senate truly affirms a vision of a peaceful and enduring two-state solution, which we believe it should, then we should also be urging the Australian government to call out the breaches of international law that present a huge obstacle to achieving this vision. Australia needs to make clear to the Israeli government that increasing settlement-building and the threat of annexation, not to mention the regular demolition of Palestinian homes, are massive obstacles to achieving peace. We urge the government to finally recognise a Palestinian state, as so many other countries have done.
I express my regret that the Greens felt, in relation to a motion commemorating such an honourable and decent man, the need to make a political statement such as was just made. We all have views about the foreign policy issues to which the Senator adverted. I think there is support across the chamber for a two-state solution. People may have different views about how that should proceed, but those differences ought not have been aired in the context of this motion.
I would also note that this motion comes to this place today to commemorate and mark the death of then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. It acknowledges his promotion of peace and coexistence at that time, but we know for all time, given the nature of his leadership and his legacy. The motion very clearly refers to an enduring two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, supported by Australia—a two-state solution mutually negotiated and agreed by Israelis and Palestinians. That it is not possible to extend with courtesy, diplomacy and generosity of spirit an acknowledgement of this resolution by the Greens in this chamber, is profoundly disappointing.
Question agreed to.