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Australia to stop referring to East Jerusalem as 'occupied'

June 5, 2014 5:49 P.M. (Updated: June 7, 2014 9:35 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- PLO official Hanan Ashrawi on Thursday strongly criticized an announcement by the Australian government that it is to stop referring to East Jerusalem as occupied territory.

Attorney-General George Brandis announced Thursday that describing East Jerusalem as occupied "is a term freighted with pejorative implications which is neither appropriate nor useful."

"It should not and will not be the practice of the Australian government to describe areas of negotiation in such judgmental language."

Ashrawi said it is "disgraceful" and "shocking" that on the 47th anniversary of Israel's occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza that Brandis would make such "inflammatory" statements.

"Israel's illegal annexation of East Jerusalem is beyond 'pejorative' and 'inappropriate'; it is a deliberate and egregious violation, not just of international humanitarian law and consensus, but of the basic norms of responsible behavior that governs relations among civilized states."

"Trying to fabricate or distort the law to fit Israel's lawless behavior is shameful and dangerous. Attorney-General Brandis, whether out of ignorance or whether out of blind bias, is trying to render Australia complicit in the Israeli occupation, and is forcing it to become an advocate of international criminal behavior," she concluded.

East Jerusalem was occupied in 1967 and later annexed in a move never recognized by the international community.

On May 21, 1968, the United Nations Security Council reaffirmed that the "acquisition of territory by military conquest is inadmissible."

The resolution stated that "all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, including expropriation of land and properties thereon, which tend to change the legal status of Jerusalem are invalid and cannot change that status."
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