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Palestine urging Arab states to review ties with Australia
Published Saturday 07/06/2014 (updated) 15/07/2014 14:37
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Israel's separation barrier surrounds the Ras Khamis neighborhood
of East Jerusalem, on Nov. 12, 2013. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian officials say they will ask Arab and Muslim-majority countries to re-evaluate relations with Australia after Canberra dropped the term "occupied" when referring to East Jerusalem.

In a letter to Julie Bishop, Australia's foreign minister, the PLO's chief negotiator blasted that decision and said Palestine would respond by asking two regional Arab and Muslim state blocs to review their ties with Australia.

"Palestine will request that the Arab League and the Islamic Conference review the relations of the Arab and Islamic world with Australia in light of Australia's unlawful recognition of the illegal settlement regime in occupied Palestine," Saeb Erekat wrote in the June 5 letter, which was obtained by Ma'an.

He condemned Attorney-General George Brandis' pronouncement in Australia's senate this week that the use of the word "occupied" to describe East Jerusalem was "neither appropriate nor useful."

The remarks demonstrate that Australia "does not intend to comply with its duty under international law not to recognize Israeli sovereignty over any part of the Palestinian territory occupied by Israel in 1967, including East Jerusalem," Erekat wrote.

He added: "Palestine views these developments in the gravest terms and is weighing the appropriate legal and diplomatic response."

Israel occupied East Jerusalem along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967 after a Middle East war.

It later annexed the city in a move that was never recognized internationally.

The issue flared in Australia's Senate this week after Brandis issued a statement to clarify Canberra's stance on the question of the legality of settler homes in East Jerusalem.

"The description of areas which are the subject of negotiations in the course of the peace process by reference to historical events is unhelpful," he said Thursday.

"The description of east Jerusalem as 'occupied' east Jerusalem 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."

Palestinian officials quickly blasted the attorney general's remarks.

"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," said PLO official Hanan Ashrawi.

"Trying to fabricate or distort the law to fit Israel's lawless behavior is shameful and dangerous," she said. "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."

A number of senators also disagreed, pointing out that Australia had voted in support of UN resolutions in 2011 and 2012 where such language was used to describe settlements in East Jerusalem.

Independent Senator Nick Xenophon suggested that dropping the term "occupied" would represent a "massive shift" in Australia's foreign policy, the Australian Associated Press reported.

Australian Greens leader Christine Milne Friday called it "an outrageous backdown" by the Tony Abbott-led government.

Israeli leaders, meanwhile, praised the policy shift.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman welcomed the "serious" move by Australia, which he said was not afraid to "tell the truth regarding the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians."

AFP contributed to this report.
1 ) Mel / USA
07/06/2014 16:48
The Aussie Govt denying the Zionist occupation,is as despicable as Holocaust,Nakba/Naksa denialism.Selective empathy for political image&votes,is SO CRIMINALLY LOW!
Not a'Good Day Cobber'image for old-colonial penal-colony,poverty-refugee camp Aussie,itself!Remember,white Australia was also BORN from oppressed peoples having to steal bread to survive,who were either HANGED on sent to distant camps to pay for their POVERTY back at home!What you can't gas,you expel!Ain't that right Israel?

2 ) she who eats from down below / Cherokee
07/06/2014 18:06
@1 you as a white settler, in your non native plundered lands. Is well equipped to tell those white settlers in Australia, a land plundered of mineral wealth belonging to her aboriginal peoples.

3 ) Pat / Ireland
07/06/2014 18:51
Australia, America’s Asia pacific poodle

4 ) Maureen / Australia
07/06/2014 19:00
One guess as to who are feathering the nest of the Australian Abbott government (vipers) in Australia!

5 ) Sammi / Palestine
07/06/2014 19:35
When Saddam annexed Kuwait ohhh big no no let's make war on him, but when the little baby of the west Israel annexes any land they find suitable, the Golan heights, Jerusalem or anything else, it's not a big deal, not very "useful" to argue with that. What a disgusting world we live in, double standards at its peak

6 ) jv / Canada
07/06/2014 22:02
The part that the circus of a government that Australia currently has missed is the large and quickly growing population of Zionists in Australia who are also doing the work of the Mossad. The Prisoner X affair showed every one how extensive the infiltration is. How long until they want a state of their own inside Australia?

7 ) Tobias / USA
07/06/2014 23:22
Australia should urge Western states to review both: - "ties with Palestine", and also - further donations to the Palestinian Authority !!

8 ) Paul / Kenya
08/06/2014 00:17
Maybe its time to finally understand that Jerusalem is the undivided capital of the Jewish state of Israel. Gee you better boycott the whole world because soon they will all recognize and accept this fact

9 ) Arnold / Canada
08/06/2014 00:39
Mel...... The jokes on you. I love it when things do not go your way.

10 ) Gabi / Australia
08/06/2014 03:13
This from George Brandis, the clown (not fair on clowns. Sorry.): "The description of areas which are the subject of negotiations in the course of the peace process by reference to historical events is unhelpful" WTF? I thought Israel claimed sovereignty over the whole of Palestine based on (very doubtful) historical events. And Brandis is the highest law officer in Australia. God help us!

11 ) Outlier / USA
08/06/2014 04:56
I expect Arab states to weigh the relative importance of Australia vis a vis the Palestinians and act accordingly. Sorry Palestinians.

12 ) RT / Australia
08/06/2014 05:17
They should tell the Arabs to reduce the oil price to pre-1967 levels then having already fired "the oil weapon" in 1972. I support our Government's position. Thank Good for our wise FM Julie Bishop.

13 ) Andrew / Australia
08/06/2014 07:25
Notice how the Palestinian Arabs focus on words "occupied" rather than just principles? Run by a known terror organisation publicly committed to the destruction of Israel by any means, of course the Palestinians are using this nonsense as a way to try and disturb others. Israel is a beacon of hope, freedom, capitalism, and wealth in the Middle East. We must protect Israel or else the terrorists will attack us next.

14 ) ian / australia
08/06/2014 08:40
Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The shame of it. We are reliving the Bush era in Australia. FM Bishop is our Condi Rice. Same death stare, same Neocon politics (in office, during Bush II, she was a vocal Iraq war cheerleader), same deal with the Devil. But this is beyond absurd. Australia is a minor, peripheral player. Who, in Yahweh's name, are we trying to impress by this eccentric hardline? UNSC Res 478 is clear. The Jerusalem Law is "null and void" and "must be rescinded". NO-ONE is this far right

15 ) ian / australia
08/06/2014 08:42
(contd.) on Jerusalem. Except Israel. Oy veh! But it's a gesture without impact. No-one cares what Australia thinks (behaving on foreign policy matters like the craven poodle of more powerful actors) and "Arab and Muslim-majority countries" can "re-evaluate relations with Australia" without concrete impact. ALL our ludicrous, right-wing government with its buffoonish throwback leader (see scathing John Oliver piece http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3IaKVmkXuk)

16 ) ian / australia
08/06/2014 08:43
(contd.) is succeeding in doing is making us look ridiculous and dragging our (relatively) good name through the mud (sigh).

17 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
08/06/2014 08:56
So, Mel - I guess it's time to stop denying your occupation of native American lands. You are the oppressor, Mel, and it is an historical fact that you invaded, colonized, committed genocide and stole the land and resources that belong to dozens of native nations. Modern American was born from white invading colonist mercenaries like you, Mel, who massacred the natives and occupied their nations. Ain't that right, Mel?

18 ) Rami / Palestine
08/06/2014 13:12
#17 And everything you describe Mel having done obviously gives you the green light to go ahead and also invade, colonize, commit genocide and steal land and resources that belong to a native nation in Palestine, right? Face it, you're a hypocrite. Every time you attempt to point out that someone else somewhere else is a hypocrite, it only makes you look worse. I suggest to shut the hell up and get out of Palestine. Pay restitution. Wipe away your sins, then you can open your mouth.

19 ) Chimo / USA
08/06/2014 13:17
I love it!!!! Finally a nation who has decided to tell the Palestinians that they have no right at all to the Israelis Capital. Jerusalem is and always will be the capital of Israel. Not the made up capital of "Palestine" Arabs own 99.9% of all the land in the Middle East, but that's not good enough right? The Palestinians could have their own country (Jordan) they make up 2/3rds of the population anyway, but they want to wipe out all traces of true Jewish history, by destroying Jewish artifacts

20 ) Uncoomon Truth / Australia
08/06/2014 15:34
Well done Australia in speaking some truth! When the area was "occupied" by Jordan there was of course no talk of an occupation. This demonstrates it is just an expression of hatred against Israel and Jews. Jerusalem has NEVER been the capital of anything other than Israel (and its ancient predecessor Judea).

21 ) Mel / USA
08/06/2014 17:07
#18:Rami/Palestine:LOL! I think Hasbara-troll(#17)Brain(or his sister)has a hobby on the side? Pretending to be a Native American(#2 Cherokee)with the usual mantra of hypocrisy.I have Cherokee friends who'd NEVER choose a filthy name like that for a spirit child,as #2 did. #2:Your nom de plume &content identify you Zio-troll,as you insult my Cherokee friends! Watch your mouth Brian & scurry back 'below' your troll bridge with your Z Book!

22 ) prem toocaram / Australia
08/06/2014 18:33
As Australian I am shocked at the vitriol being poured out over this issue. Unlike the "other" Middle East counties AUSTRALIA like Israel is a democracy.I think that those commentators need to look into those other countries record of human rights" or lack of" before condemning Australia, Israel, America or any country that has the freedom to speak the truth. Australia does not bend to bullies. So do your best cut ties with the same counties that produce your phones, technology, food.

23 ) Arnold / Canada
08/06/2014 19:45
Ian / Australia. It is about time Australia became politically "incorrect" by speaking the truth. Canada via Stephen Harper broke the ice and made it easier to speak up.

24 ) ian / australia
09/06/2014 23:54
#11 "I expect Arab states to weigh the relative importance of Australia vis a vis the Palestinians and act accordingly. Sorry Palestinians." Really, Outlier? I think you expect wrong. I don't see "Arab states" thinking Australia of ANY "importance" at all. We are a distant, minor player guaranteed to go along, poodle-like, with any US initiatives which might impact them. The Aqsa mosque, however, is revered throughout the Arab world as the "Farthest Mosque" to which the Prophet (PBUH) was

25 ) ian / australia
09/06/2014 23:55
(contd.) transported in the miraculous Night Journey and from which he ascended to Heaven and spoke with G-d (swt). Preventing its THEFT by a ruthless, invading entity which violates it constantly and threatens to rid it of "the abominations" and build a grotesque edifice in their place is of VITAL importance to the Muslim world.

26 ) ian / australia
09/06/2014 23:57
#19 "...but they want to wipe out all traces of true Jewish history, by destroying Jewish artifacts" Really, Chimo? Name one. (And while you're at it, name something you'd call "true Jewish history".)

27 ) ian / australia
09/06/2014 23:57
#23 "It is about time Australia became politically "incorrect" by speaking the truth." Alright, Arnold, but what is the truth? In 1980, Israel declared Jerusalem the "undivided" capital of Israel, in effect, ANNEXING East Jerusalem, the part of the city OVER the Green Line, which it had OCCUPIED since its "acquisition by war" in 1967. Of the 194 (or so) nations in the world, NONE (except Israel) accept the "Jerusalem Law" as legal. NONE. Not even BFF USA. And UNSC Res 478 made it official:

28 ) ian / australia
09/06/2014 23:58
(contd.) Israel's claims to sovereignty in EJ are "null and void" and "must be rescinded". So, Arnold, what is the truth? That it's "about time" Australia spoke?

29 ) Outlier / USA
11/06/2014 21:04
24, Ian, sadly you are wishful thinking. Arab states revere Al-Aqsa, but consider Palestinians a pain in the butt whose often violent protests at Al-Aqsa defile the holiness of the site. In addition, the Arab states see Australia as a valued trading partner and the Palestinians as a money burn barrel. Time for Palestinians to face the reality Australia already knows; they will NEVER gain sovereignty over East Jerusalem.

30 ) Maureen / Australia
18/06/2014 22:22
Hey, Arnold 23, Australia's present government LIED on many domestic issues to the electorate prior to elections! They sure did not get my vote and those who did vote for the right wing dumb, dumbs are now sorry they did!

31 ) What a joke / Alquds
20/06/2014 06:15
These countries.deal with Israel directly, why would they boycott Australia .lol

32 ) Guillermo / mexico
12/07/2014 01:01
australia is full of ilegal settlers. land grabers just like israel
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