Is Labor serious about peace in the Middle East?

When Malcolm Turnbull welcomed Benjamin Netanyahu to Australia, history was made as it marked the first visit by a Prime Minister of Israel to Australia.  A monumental moment for the Australia-Israel relationship, and a reaffirmation of Western support for Israel following the deterioration of support under Barrack Obama. But as usual our resident solipsist Kevin Rudd could not let such an event occur without adding his two cents; the usual diatribe spouted by acolytes of the United Nations brand of foreign policy infused by a man scratching for relevance.


Most absurd was the claim that Netanyahu single-handedly ‘torpedoed’ plans for peace in the Middle East and the suggestion by Rudd that Australia recognises Palestine. Somewhat disappointingly were comments made by Hawke, the once stalwart supporter of Israel, who reasoned his endorsement of a Palestinian state crucial to public discourse.


If we take a look at the 2010-11 peace talks it becomes apparent that these claims made by the ghosts of Labor Prime Ministers past are simply untrue. During these talks, the refusal by the Palestinian Authority to recognise Israel was attributed by many as the direct cause of the breakdown. But I’m sure that following a Rudd chain of thought that the 2010 campaign by Hamas that resulted in the deaths of four Israelis and severely injured seven was the fault of Netanyahu.


The temporary peace deal offered by Israel in March of 2011 that would have created a Palestine state, was rejected by the Palestinian Authority. Notably, a negotiator for Palestine stated that they would accept ‘no middle ground solutions.’ Negotiations were no doubt enhanced by the comments in 2010 by Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton that condemned Israel for building homes in Jerusalem. A move that highlighted the receding support for Israel under President Obama. But of course terrorism, refusal to accept even a temporary peace deal, and the waning support of Israel by Obama according to Rudd and Hawke the fault of Netanyahu.


If indeed the Australian Labor Party shifts its position and thereby undermine any tangible steps towards peace they will, of course, have won kudos from the 31 members of the United Nation that refuse to recognise Israel. Take a look at the United Nations Human Rights Council that since 2006 has condemned Israel 45 times, nearly half of all resolutions passed, and shockingly more than all other member states combined. The ALP should refuse to kowtow to the whims of luminaries past or the consensus-driven politics of the United Nations.


In this day and age many on the left spout the usual talking points surrounding the need for a Palestinian state without any critical thought or intellectual honesty. If the ALP are serious about peace and if they want to support a serious attempt at peace, Bill Shorten needs to have the guts to ignore the fringe leftists in his party and reaffirm a commitment to the two-state solution.

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