Kevin Rudd Calls for Australia to Formally Recognise Palestinian State


Kevin Rudd believes Australia should formally recognise the state of Palestine. (ABC).


Canberra, 23 Jumadil Awwal 1438/20 February 2017 (MINA) – Former prime minister Kevin Rudd has called for a major shift in foreign policy, arguing that Australia should formally recognise the Palestinian state.

“The time has come for Australia to join countries like Sweden and the Holy See in formally recognising the Palestinian state,” he said in a statement to ABC Radio’s PM program.

“It is time for Australia to draw a line in the sand on this matter. As 137 states already have.”

Mr Rudd said he was concerned about the building of settlements in occupied Palestinian territory on the West Bank, saying it fundamentally undermines the prospect of a two-state solution.

He is also concerned about Donald Trump’s ambiguous statement about a two-state solution this week, where the US President appeared to step away from the United States’ long-held position.

“I’m looking at two-state [solution] and one-state and I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like,” Mr Trump said at a press conference earlier this week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“I can live with either one.”

Mr Rudd said he is proud to have been a lifelong supporter of the state of Israel and its right to exist behind secure boundaries.
Possibility of third Intifada

But he said he deeply fears the possibility of a third Intifada, and that “we are drifting towards the disintegration and death of an independent Palestinian state”.

“It is now critical for Israel’s closest friends and allies to send a clarion clear message to both Tel Aviv and Washington that the abandonment of a two-state solution is unacceptable,” he said.

“Australia is one such close friend and ally. It is not acceptable, therefore, for Australia to use weasel words.”

His comments come ahead of Mr Netanyahu’s visit to Australia next week, and follow similar calls from another former prime minister Bob Hawke and former foreign ministers Gareth Evans and Bob Carr.

While there are 137 countries that recognise a Palestinian state, major developed countries such as the UK, the US, France, Germany, Canada and New Zealand do not. (T/RS05/RS01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)