With the backdrop of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s impending visit to Australia, and former Australia Prime Minister Kevin Rudd calling to recognize “Palestine,” The Australian has run an editorial which is a welcome change from what I have seen in the Australian media.
Predictably, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s arrival tomorrow has prompted demands for Australian recognition of a Palestinian state. Kevin Rudd is the latest Labor figure to join the clamour, adding to the calls by Bob Hawke, Gareth Evans, Bob Carr and others for the Turnbull government to overturn its firm stand against unilateral recognition without a negotiated peace accord between the Israelis and Palestinians.
Recognition would add to the delusions of Palestinian leaders that they can achieve statehood through the back door, using the UN as a conduit. Proponents of recognition overlook the reality that Palestine lacks the most fundamental prerequisites of statehood, including defined borders, which can be achieved only through a negotiated settlement with Israel — not shuffling documents around the UN.
Malcolm Turnbull and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop are right in rejecting demands for Australian recognition. Doing so would reinforce the Palestinians’ past rejections of generous peace terms (in 2000, 2001 and 2008) and their refusal to return to the negotiating table. It would merely add another country to the list of those fostering the Palestinians’ absurd belief that they can achieve statehood without negotiating with the Israelis.