22 January 2013
The Zionist Federation of Australia endorses Australian and British foreign affairs chiefs’ statement of support of a two-state solution, and, consistent with this statement, calls on the Palestinian leadership to return to the negotiating table with Israel rather than continue its unilateral steps in order to avoid dealing with Israel.
The status of Israeli settlements is still to be determined under international law; however, if the Palestinians are prepared to negotiate without preconditions, the settlements will be an issue to be resolved.
President, Zionist Federation of Australia
The Australian Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Defence, Bob Carr and Stephen Smith, and the UK Foreign and Defence Secretaries, William Hague and Philip Hammond, met 18 January for the fifth Australia-UK Ministerial Consultations (AUKMIN).
AUKMIN statement about Israel:
We agreed that there is a particularly urgent need at this time for progress on the Middle East Peace Process. The UK and Australia call on the US to lead a major effort in 2013 to achieve a negotiated two-state solution with a secure Israel alongside a Palestinian state. History has shown that only the US has the influence and capability to bring both sides together. Past progress has only been achieved through US leadership. Strong US engagement is in the interests of Israelis, Palestinians and the wider region. Resolution of the Israeli Palestinian conflict will strengthen the forces of democracy and moderation throughout the Middle East. The Palestinian Authority and the new Israeli government must engage seriously in negotiations without preconditions. Actions by both sides must be in the interests of peace. Neither side should create obstacles to that objective. We call on Israel to stop settlement activity. All settlements are illegal under international law and settlement activity undermines the prospects for peace. Australia and the United Kingdom expressed particular concern regarding the recent settlement announcements of the Israel Government including the proposed development of the E1 area.
Australia and the United Kingdom both voted not to oppose enhanced Palestinian status in the United Nations. We call on the Palestinian Authority to exercise restraint and avoid provocative actions at international forums. Australia and the United Kingdom urge the Palestinians to resolve their internal differences, unite for peace and cease acts of violence against Israel. In particular, we call for the Palestinians to abide by the terms of the Gaza ceasefire and to stop all rocket attacks.