- The Guardian
- Issue #2030
One of the more heinous foreign policy decisions of the former Morrison government has been reversed: Australia no longer recognises West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Speaking on the decision, Foreign Minister Penny Wong stated that the 2018 Decision by the then-Coalition government “put Australia out of step with the majority of the international community,” further stating that the issue of Jerusalem “has to be resolved through negotiation between the parties.”
Wong, however, was quick to add, however, “Australia will always be a steadfast friend of Israel,” and adding that “We will not waver in our support of both Israel and the Jewish community in Australia.”
Naturally, the news was not received well in Israel with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid saying:
“In light of the way in which this decision was made in Australia, as a hasty response to an incorrect report in the media, we can only hope that the Australian government manages other matters more seriously and professionally […]. Jerusalem is the eternal and united capital of Israel and nothing will ever change that.”
On the other hand, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh welcomed the decision as a “wise and bold decision,” adding that it reflected “Australia’s respect and alignment with the values of truth, justice and freedom, and the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, sanctioned by international legitimacy.”
While this is a much-welcomed decision, the Albanese government’s position and policy concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could be better. For example, it should support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which is supported by the South African National Congress and the Congress of South African Trade Unions.
Such manoeuvres would meaningfully and substantially highlight a commitment to peace in the region and show our support for Palestinian statehood.
Furthermore, Palestinian statehood cannot be qualified in dubious or insincere terms and we must understand it as an incremental process in our support for the complete liberation of Palestine from its occupiers. Despite the move, by qualifying Israel as a “steadfast friend,” Wong has tacitly endorsed the violence towards Palestinians and is attempting to speak out of both sides of her mouth.
The apartheid must end, which is part of the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people who have been neglected by the West for generations. This neglect is not accidental; it is deliberate. Israel, like Australia in the South Pacific, serves as a base for US imperialism in the Middle East and must be combatted at every step.
Free, free Palestine!