Australia refuses to call east Jerusalem 'occupied'

2014-06-06 14:30
Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. (AFP)

Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Sydney - Australia has decided to remove the term "occupied" when referring to east Jerusalem, a move blasted by Palestinians as "toxic" and an obstacle to peace and welcomed by Israel.

The issue flared in the Senate this week with Attorney-General George Brandis issuing a statement to clarify Canberra's stance on the controversial question of the legality of settler homes.

"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 on 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."

He added that Canberra supported a peaceful solution to the dispute "which recognises the right of Israel to exist peacefully within secure borders and also recognises the aspiration to statehood of the Palestinian people".

Israel seized the West Bank, including Arab east Jerusalem, in the Six Day War of 1967.

It later annexed east Jerusalem in a move that has never been recognised by the international community.

Brandis quickly drew Palestinian ire.

"It is absolutely disgraceful and shocking that on the 47th anniversary of Israel's military occupation... Australian Attorney-General George Brandis is issuing such inflammatory and irresponsible statements," said Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestine Liberation Organisation official.

"Such pronouncements are not only in blatant violation of international law and global consensus, but are also lethal in any pursuit of peace and toxic to any attempt at enacting a global rule of law," she said in a statement released early on Friday.

‘An outrageous backdown’

But Israeli 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".

Brandis sparked a heated debate in the Senate on Wednesday evening when he stated that no Australian government of either political persuasion "acknowledges or accepts" the use of the word "occupied".

A number of senators 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, Australian Associated Press reported.

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

"It is inflammatory behaviour and at odds with the peace process," she said in a statement.

"The use of the term 'Occupied Palestinian Territories' is the accepted term used by the UN.

"The Israeli settlements built after 1967 are illegal. The settlements contravene the Fourth Geneva Convention."
Read more on:    un  |  palestine  |  australia  |  israel  |  middle east peace
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
25 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The energy today is serious, materialistic and hardworking. You may find you get a new outlook on things and you may want to spend...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.