Netanyahu: the first visit to these important countries
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told the cabinet his visit to Singapore and Australia will the first by an Israeli prime minister “to these countries”.
He told the Cabinet in Jerusalem: “After the Cabinet meeting I am leaving on an important visit to Singapore and Australia. I think that this is the first visit by a[n Israeli] prime minister to these important countries. We will strengthen security, economic and other ties with these countries.
In Australia I will, together with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, hold a meeting with businesspeople from both countries in order to increase trade between Israel and Australia. What we are doing to strengthen Israel’s standing in the world – and this was apparent during my visit in Washington, as it was during my previous visits to the Islamic world and now to Australia and other major powers in Asia, and it is clear that there is also an economic aspect here – is to open new markets. This is one of the things that contribute to strengthening Israel’s economy.”
Netanyahu will be accompanied by an important trade delegation from Israel.
Meanwhile a statement was organised by the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network.
The statement was signed by 60 prominent Australians expresses opposition to the visit of the Israeli Prime Minister this week because of his Government’s policies towards the Palestinians.
The statement is signed by
- senior legal professionals – including former Solicitor General Gavan Griffith QC, and former Federal Court judge Murray Rutledge Wilcox
- former parliamentarians – including Jon Stanhope, former ACT Chief Minister, and former ALP Minister The Hon Alan Griffin
- senior clergy – including Bishop George Browning and former Uniting Church President Rev Gregor Henderson
- Artists – including actor Miriam Margolyes, writer and commentator Dr Randa Abdel-Fattah, and filmmaker Christina Wilcox
- Academics – including Emeritus Professor Stuart Rees and Associate Professor Peter Slezak, and many others
“Netanyahu’s Government is being investigated for war crimes by the International Criminal Court, been reprimanded by the UN Security Council, and Netanyahu personally is likely to be indicted for fraud charges” said Bishop George Browning, President of the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network and signatory. “He deserves a red card, not a red carpet”.
The statement was released ahead of planned protests by activists in Melbourne, at the Israeli Embassy in Canberra on Monday and in Sydney as well as prayer vigils in Melbourne and Canberra.
APAN reports that a separate petition, “Jewish Australians say no to Netanyahu”, has also gained over 500 signatories.