The Zionist Federation of Australia expressed its disappointment that the Australian Labor Party’s newly-adopted platform includes a call for the next Labor government to recognise a Palestinian state.
ZFA President Jeremy Leibler said, “The Labor leadership has previously opposed any unilateral actions that undermine Israeli–Palestinian peace. The ‘statement in detail’ now included in the ALP platform calls for the next Labor government to be a party to a direct violation of an international peace agreement, which would undermine the Israeli–Palestinian peace process. We are confident that the Labor leadership would not want this outcome.”
Mr Leibler pointed out that ‘Palestine’ does not meet the minimum requirements of statehood. “Pretending that ‘Palestine’ meets the minimum criteria for a state when it manifestly does not is virtue signalling, and would only undermine Australia’s reputation as a law-abiding and pragmatic honest broker”, he said.
Mr Leibler also noted that multiple Arab countries have moved to forge peace with Israel despite the impasse in the Israeli–Palestinian peace process. “Regional peace and prosperity should not be and is no longer dependent on the Palestinians’ willingness to make peace”, said Mr Leibler. “An increasing number of Arab states recognise that peace requires the genuine commitment of both parties and no longer subscribe to the notion that only Israel is to blame for the current impasse. It is unfortunate that Labor’s statement in detail fails to reflect what is now clear to many of Israel’s neighbours.”
Mr Leibler acknowledged Shadow Foreign Minister Penny Wong’s confirmation that the Labor platform does not bind the next Labor government to recognise Palestine and said, “I am confident the Labor leadership will maintain the long-standing bipartisan consensus that the only path to a viable Palestinian state is by negotiations. Only by talking to each other will Israelis and Palestinians achieve peace and security.”
The ZFA welcomed the additional resolutions on Iran and Hezbollah, which recognised their negative impact across the Middle East, and the need for whole-hearted Iranian cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, with full verification.
Since 2014, the Palestinians have refused to negotiate with Israel. Further, since that time they have increased efforts to join international organisations and have countries recognise the non-existent Palestinian state. These efforts are designed to increase leverage over Israel while avoiding negotiations, since negotiations entail mutual concessions. Beyond directly violating peace agreements the Palestinians have signed, these unilateral actions decrease trust in Palestinian peaceful intentions, undermine confidence in the peace process and erect obstacles on the path to peace. They should be condemned, not celebrated.
Article IX (5) of the 1995 Interim Agreement reads:
Article IX: Powers and Responsibilities of the Council
(1) economic agreements, as specifically provided in Annex V of this Agreement;
(2) agreements with donor countries for the purpose of implementing arrangements for the provision of assistance to the Council;
(3) agreements for the purpose of implementing the regional development plans detailed in Annex IV of the DOP or in agreements entered into in the framework of the multilateral negotiations; and
(4) cultural, scientific and educational agreements.
At its 2018 national conference, Labor’s adopted platform looked forward to a viable peace:
Labor supports an enduring and just two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on the right of Israel to live in peace within secure borders internationally recognised and agreed by the parties, and reflecting the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people to also live in peace and security within their own state.
The conference also adopted a resolution that called on the next Labor government to recognise the non-existent Palestinian state:
In the current platform, Labor has adopted the same policy as above, but has also included the text of the 2018 resolution in a section called ‘Statements in Detail’ in the 2021 platform. The ‘Statements in Detail’ section did not exist in the 2018 platform. Other resolutions from the 2018 conference have been included in the draft 2021 platform’s ‘Statements in Detail’ section.
The Labor conference also passed the following resolutions: