AIJAC welcomes call for negotiations…but

January 20, 2013 by J-Wire Staff
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A call for a return to negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians by the the Foreign Ministers of Australia and the U.K. has been welcomed by The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council…but not their views on the settlements.

Dr Colin Rubenstein

Dr Colin Rubenstein

Dr Colin Rubenstein, the executive director of AIJAC, said: “We welcome Foreign Minister Carr’s and Foreign Secretary Hague’s call for the Palestinians to return to negotiations without preconditions.

Indeed, the Palestinian leadership has refused to engage in any constructive negotiations with their Israeli counterparts over the last four years, despite repeated, ongoing pleas from Jerusalem to do so.

We also welcome their call for the Palestinians to abide by the terms of the Gaza ceasefire and to stop all rocket attacks.

However, their claims of the illegality of settlements are highly dubious and have been disputed, not only by Israel but by  some of the world’s top lawyers.

Senator Carr and Foreign Secretary Hague should take into account that Israeli policies since 2004 have prevented any new settlements or the expansion of the boundaries of existing settlements, which take up less than 2 percent of the West Bank.
Proposed construction in the area known as E1, which falls within the municipal boundary of a settlement, does not violate those policies.

William Haigh and Senator Bob Carr

William Hague and Senator Bob Carr at the Perth conference

Furthermore, population and internal growth within these existing settlements would not substantially affect the size, contiguity or viability of a future Palestinian state.

We believe that excessive and misplaced focus on this issue has been at the expense of  speaking out on other issues of much greater import.

Besides the Palestinian refusal to engage in any constructive negotiations with their Israeli counterparts, other issues include continued incitement in Palestinian schools and official media, the ongoing rejectionism of elements of the PLO, and the crippling inability of the Palestinian Authority to speak for all of the Palestinian people, with  a resurgent Hamas in control of Gaza, unreconstructed in its determination to destroy Israel.”

A communique from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade  regarding the meeting of the two foreign ministers stated:

“Summary of Middle East Peace Process comments contained in AUKMIN communique of 18 January 2013

Australia and the United Kingdom:

·       called on the United States to lead a major effort in 2013 to achieve a negotiated two-state solution with a secure Israel alongside a Palestinian state;

·       agreed that there was a particularly urgent need at this time for progress;

·       called on the Palestinian Authority and the new Israeli government “to engage seriously in negotiations without preconditions;”

·       said “actions by both sides must be in the interests of peace.”  Neither side should create obstacles to that objective;

·       called on the Palestinian Authority “to exercise restraint and avoid provocative actions at international forums” following the Palestinian status vote in the United Nations;

·       urged the Palestinians “to resolve their internal differences, unite for peace and cease acts of violence against Israel;”

·       called for the Palestinians “to abide by the terms of the Gaza ceasefire and to stop all rocket attacks;”

·       “called on Israel to stop settlement activity” and said that “all settlements are illegal under international law” and settlement activity undermined the prospects for peace;

·       expressed particular concern regarding recent settlement announcements of the Israel Government including the proposed development of the E1 area; and

·       said that resolution of the Israeli Palestinian conflict will strengthen the forces of democracy and moderation throughout the Middle East.


7 Responses to “AIJAC welcomes call for negotiations…but”
  1. Ben Eleijah says:

    Negotiate about what ? The negotiations, while Israel continues to expand settlements, the barrier and exclusive higways ? There is little Palestine left to negotiate over. And continuing the same fictional negotiations will mean the end of Palestine.

  2. David says:

    The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade communique stated that Mr Carr and Mr Hague called on the Palestinian Authority and the new Israel Government to engage seriously in negotiations without preconditions”.

    Since the Palestinian Authority no longer exists – could the two Foreign Ministers (and Dr Rubinstein) elaborate on whom Israel should now negotiate with and under what negotiating parameters discussions should occur since the Oslo Accords and the Bush Road map no longer have any relevance.

    JWire has recently published my latest article “Palestine – Trojan Horse Exposes Duplicitous Doublecross” in which I pointed out that confirmation had been received of the demise of the Palestinian Authority from a member of the Authority’s legal team.

    Perhaps a response from Mr Carr , Mr Hague and Dr Rubinstein to this development that seems to have escaped them all might not go amiss.

    I won’t hold my breath waiting.

  3. robert says:

    Sounds like Australian foreign policy is dependent on what Mr Carr can justify on the steps of the Lakemba Mosque
    Mr Carr is quoted in the media as using that argument when ringing around the Caucus members to sell his views on the Palestine/UN vote

    • Lynne Newington says:

      There was an excellent piece in today’s Australian on page 11, under the heading,
      Israel settles down for election.
      UN Palestine vote does nothing for Middle East peace.
      Too long for me to reprint here, but well worth reading.
      Maybe Paul would oblige.

  4. Paul Winter says:

    Dr Rubenstein’s comments cover most points but failed to note that:
    1. the PA is trying to reconcile with Hamas, rather than negotiate with Israel
    2. abu Mazen is in the 9th year and Hamas is in its 6th year of their respective 4 year terms
    3. the PA violated the terms of UNSC 242 and the Road Map terms in upgrading its UN status
    4. the PA has joined Hamas in failing to observe past agreements and it has never recognised Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, two of the 3 conditions why Hamas was isolated
    5. the Arabs have not met a single item in the agreements they signed
    6. even-handedness in the Israel/Arab conflict is offensive as it means siding with the offenders
    7. there is nothing more urgent now than in the past except that there will be an Israeli election which those meddlers are trying to influence
    8. there is no West Bank, only Judea and Samaria; there are no Palestinians only Arabs like those in countries around Israel; there are no settlements, only nation building; there are no peace talks as peace was a precondition for the PLO to return from exile in Tunisia.

    Rubenstein is far too polite with the clown who was parachuted into the FM job, whose party allowed the antisemitic Moslem Brotherhood member al-Hilali to enter, stay and become a citizen.

  5. Liat Nagar says:

    Yep, Carr needs to do his homework, instead of focussing on grandstanding with European leaders and Foreign Affairs cohorts. He certainly likes to be quick off the mark, however will not leave his own mark.

    • Lynne Newington says:

      Now if I may interupt:
      He has a good backing and just to refresh your memory, Israel has been blessed with the previous Australian Apostolic Nuncio, Guiseppe Lazzarotto, [unable to avoid controversy due to abuse in the Catholic church, sent here from Ireland to escape fallout from their Royal Commission], his pal and Papal Knight Sydney QC John McCarthy as Ambassador to the Holy See, now who do you have?
      As I have previously stated, as it stands I wouldn’t trust anything with our signature attatched.

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