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Why Aus voted ‘yes’ to Palestine vote

Written by on May 11, 2024

Penny Wong says Australia voted “yes” to greater recognition of Palestine at the United Nations overnight as part of broader support for a two-state solution.

The General Assembly on Friday passed a resolution with the support of 143 nations, which declared that “the State of Palestine is qualified for membership in the United Nations” under its charter rules.

The resolution “reaffirms the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to their independent State of Palestine”.

Israel immediately condemned the move, accusing the international community of rewarding Hamas for the October 7 terrorist attack that killed 1200 Israelis.

Foreign Minister Wong disagreed, saying the vote did not indicate the UN or Australia yet recognised a Palestinian state, but rather “reaffirmed the international community’s unwavering support for a two state solution of Israel and Palestine”.

She noted that was the “opposite of what Hamas wants”.

“This is a clear rejection of the goals and methods of Hamas. A two-state solution, both Israel and Palestine, is the opposite of what Hamas wants,” Senator Wong said.

“Hamas does not want peace and it does not want long-term security for the state of Israel. The rejection of Hamas is among the reasons why Australia voted for this resolution.”

The passage of the resolution grants Palestine additional rights at the UN, allowing it greater participating in debates, the opportunity to propose agenda items, and be elected to committees.

Palestine does not have the ability to vote in the General Assembly.

Nine countries, including the United States, voted against the resolution, and 25 nations, including the United Kingdom, abstained.

Israel’s representative to the world body, Gilad Erdan, said the international community had rewarded Hamas for the October 7 attacks.

He said the vote had set a dangerous precedent that would allow other terrorist groups to sit at the UN.

“It makes me sick,” he said.

Senator Birmingham said Australia’s support in the vote paved the way for Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and “others who deny Israel the right to exist take heart from this resolution”.

“The pathway to a two-state solution matters and can only be possible with security and respect by each party of the right for the other to exist. Yet this resolution reads as though the Hamas attacks of 7 October, deliberately slaughtering more Jews than on any single day since The Holocaust, never happened,” he said.

“Prime Minister Albanese must guarantee not to proceed with further recognition while Hamas still commands the capacity to attack, Israel’s security remains threatened by those who promote violence, and the Palestinian Authority is crippled by incompetence.”

The vote came amid growing concern about. the scale of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, after Israel took control of the Palestinian side of the crucial Rafah crossing and blocked aid shipments.

Senator Wong said Australia was unequivocal in its position that Hamas should have “no role” in any future Palestinian state.

“Australia no longer believes recognition can come at the end of the peace process, it could occur as part of the peace process,” she said.

She said any recognition on a Palestinian state will happen “when the time is right”, but right now the next steps Australia wanted to see was a ceasefire negotiated.

Senator Wong spoke directly to Australia’s Jewish community on Saturday morning when she said she understood the community was likely feeling “distressed and isolated”.

“I want to say, you are valued members of our community and you have a right to feel safe, and anti-Semitism has no place anywhere,” she said.

“This resolution that we have supported is about long-term peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians. I truly believe that the only path to securing peace and security for Israel is with the establishment of two states.”

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