Australia critical of new Israeli housing plans

April 11, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
Read on for article


The Australian Government today expressed concern that Israel’s latest announcement on settlements could further complicate prospects for resumed direct negotiations on an Israel-Palestinian peace.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr

The announcements from the Israeli Government included tenders for new housing construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank; and retrospectively legalising the status, rather than evacuating, several outposts in the West Bank.  This was contrary to previous commitments from the Government.

The Australian Government has consistently called on both sides to show restraint and comply with their obligations under the Quartet’s Roadmap for Peace and other previous agreements.  This includes settlements because it is counter-productive to the peace process.

Australia believes in a negotiated two state solution to the conflict, and urges Israel and the Palestinian Authority to resume direct negotiations without preconditions.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr said the announcement was an unhelpful development at a time when both sides need to take action to build trust and confidence.

“These announcements will not help efforts to bring both parties back to direct negotiations, which is the only path forward to achieving a two-state solution,” Senator Carr said.

Executive director of The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council Dr Colin Rubenstein added:  “AIJAC welcomes Foreign Minister Bob Carr’s call for the resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations without preconditions, which he correctly  stipulates   is indeed the only way to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian two-state resolution to the conflict.

It is therefore unfortunate that in his statement,Foreign  Minister Carr chooses to focus on Israeli announcements about construction in settlements and East Jerusalem which do not represent any new development in Israeli policy and are not in fact a significant barrier to negotiations on a two-state peace. Firstly, it is not the case that the Israeli government has yet  made any official decision or announcement about “retrospectively legalising the status” of any outposts, as the Foreign Minister asserts they had – this is an issue still being considered.  Moreover, it is worth recalling that not only do Israeli policies in place since the 2003 Roadmap prevent any new settlement construction or outward expansion of existing West Bank settlements, but that  actual construction in the built-up areas of existing settlements is at present considerably lower than during  the Barak (1999-2001) and Olmert (2006-2009) governments –  the two periods which saw the most serious efforts to negotiate a two-state peace deal.

Yet  it  needs to be stressed that  the basic  problem remains, first and foremost , the current Palestinian refusal to engage in serious and sustained direct negotiations over the past two years, despite an earlier unprecedented 10-month settlement building freeze by Israel.It’s to be hoped that the current,recent, low level engagement between the parties will be enhanced by  constructive international,including Australian, engagement towards advancing the peaceful outcome that Israel  sincerely wants  to establish with its Palestinian neighbours.  ”

ECAJ President Dr Danny Lamm added: “The Foreign Minister’s call to bring both parties back to direct negotiations, without preconditions, so as to renew efforts to achieve a two-state solution is timely and welcome.

However, settlements are not the reason for the lack of progress in negotiations.  It is the Palestinians who remain reluctant to resume negotiations because, on the core issues, they have no united position from which to negotiate.  Even during Israel’s 10-month freeze in settlement building in 2009-10, the Palestinians had to be dragged to the negotiating table after stalling for the first 9 months.

Most recently the Palestinian President has made an advance agreement about a return to the pre-1967 ceasefire lines an additional precondition for negotiations. He wants the key issue of borders, as well as the issue of settlements, to be decided before the negotiations even begin.  This is unacceptable, and countries like Australia should be saying it is unacceptable.

As the statement issued by the Quartet yesterday noted, it is also wrong to place the onus for building trust and confidence exclusively on Israel and to say nothing about the unrelenting incitement of the Palestinian population to hatred and violence by schools controlled by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas and by their media.   They continue to proclaim their hatred of Jews and their ultimate determination to destroy Israel.  Instead of preparing their people for  a just and peaceful resolution of the conflict they are doing the opposite.”


13 Responses to “Australia critical of new Israeli housing plans”
  1. Ben says:

    Hello SInger
    If Palestine is a state,the iSrael is obviously an invader and should leave soon,otherwise sanctions should follow .

  2. Ellen says:

    Mr Carr should be talking to the people causing the hostilities, not the ones reacting to them. When there’s a ceasefire it is only – and always – broken by one side, and it’s not Israel.
    Which is precisely why a “two state solution” will never work. A “palestinian” state would simply create a bigger Gaza from which to lob bigger missiles. Then suddenly they would be saying, Give us the rest.
    What is needed is a State of Israel expanded to its proper borders.

  3. Luckily, in the great and REAL scheme of things, Australia’s/Bob Carr’s opinion matters NOT when talking Middle East peace non-sense.
    What matters now, just to clarify one’s politicla profile, is tht our FRIEND, the F.A Minister, is shown to be of the competence and dependability, come the Jewish concerns, as I, for one, had clear in my mind.

    Our job is now to find methods of resolving the Carr challenge, which, in fact, only compounds the greater Labor Party foreign affairs ME challenge.

    The only part consoltaion is that Labor Gvt on US-Australia relations follows a much better path, not that Carr would have anything to do with it.

  4. gabrielle says:

    I am a Jew and I am totally against setlements.

    • I am a Jew and I am totally against gabrielle !

      Yet gabrielle may be a nice and appealing person appart from some of her views on settlements and some other issues I picked on earlier on in our relationship.
      To complete an imaginary picture as per above, I suggest imaginary nice and appealing gabrielle considers WHY Jews, like she and I, decided to settle BACK on their ancestral homeland, unless non Jewish considerations should prevail with Jewish gabrielle.

      Can I , PLEASE, be spared the retort : ” What relationship !!!”.

    • Ellen says:

      Why, Gabriel, why?

    • how interesting ! have you noticed, dear gabrielle , that you have something in common with ;

      – HAMAS
      – PLO
      – AL FATAH
      etc. etc.

  5. Alex says:

    Bob was ordinary as the NSW Premier and will be as ordinary as the Foreign Minister. It’s a sad state of affairs when the ALP have to prachute this bloke in to fill a position no other person within that party is obviously capable of!!

  6. Paul Winter says:

    Dr Colin Rubenstein’s point are appropriate and true. However, Carr should also have been told that Israel is firstly in compliance with the Quartet’s demands and secondly the Arabs are in contavention of those in several regards. As Rubenstein pointed out, there are no new developments or developments outside boundaries already established, hence there is no contravention of the Quartet agreement. What Carr chooses to ignore is that the Arabs violated the Quartet agreement before the ink dried: they have not ceased attacks, they have not ceased incitement, they have not formed a functioning government, united their militias or held elections. Abbas’s mandate expired 3½ years ago and Hamas’ 2 years ago. Moreover, Hamas is waging a terror war against Israel and the PA is waging a war against Israel in all spheres except the military one. Israel is more than justified in continuing to build and Carr is displaying ignorance and chutzpah in criticising Israel for not complying with Arab demands, when they lead to nowhere during the 10 month cessation of building. If the Arabs want building to stop, they can resume negotiation and establish a state, where construction will be in their hands.

    Now to Ben. The Jews only roads were built and checkpoints were established because of Arab terror. Too many checkpoints have been dismantled because of international pressure and too many Jews have died as a result. Arabs had a better life under Israeli control before the PA gangsters returned from Tunisia. They run area A of Judea and Samaria and if that is not enough for them, they can go to Egypt of Saudi Arabia whence they as admitted by Hamas Minister of the Interior and National Security Fathi Hammad on Al-Hekma TV on 23.3.12. I realize that nothing I write will be accepted, because people like you Ben, have their minds made up and won’t be confused by facts.

  7. singer says:

    Mr Carr has obviously not had the time to catch up with the news that the state of Palestine was recognized by UNESCO on 31 October 2011 when it was admitted as the 195th member State of UNESCO.

    Whilst Australia did not vote for the resolution to admit Palestine – its conduct in doing nothing to seek a reversal of that decision over the last five months amounts to acceptance by Australia that it too recognizes the existence of the State of Palestine.

    In fact the Australian National Commission for UNESCO has written to me that the decision to admit Palestine was entirely consistent with UNESCO’s Constitution. The Commission refused to consider my detailed submission to it that Palestine’s admission to UNESCO was unlawful.

    Mr Carr’s statement that :
    “Australia believes in a negotiated two state solution to the conflict, and urges Israel and the Palestinian Authority to resume direct negotiations without preconditions”
    – has been superseded by the events at UNESCO..

    Any direct negotiations are no longer necessary to create a State that already exists.

    Oslo and the Roadmap are now dead and buried as a result of Palestine’s unilateral approach to join UNESCO and UNESCO’s decision to recognize Palestine as a State.

    If the State of Palestine now wants to demand more territory than it presently controls – it will have to do so under an entirely new negotiating process agreed to by Israel – whose objective is the division of disputed territory – not the creation of a Palestinian State.


  8. Lynne Newington says:

    I will never under stand how those in public positions can stand up and point to the plank in anothers eye regardless of subject, with deep shortcomings of their own.
    Just the other day it came to light, his elected Attorney General, stood in Parliarment praising a long term clergyman friend, accused of sexually abusing several young children with charges pending.
    As far as I’m concerned, I know which would be worse in the eyes of G-d.

  9. Ben says:

    Rubesntien is correct. The settlements are not a barrier to talks – only a barrier to Palestinian state and for the mobility and prosperity of the Palestinians reduced to enclosed cantons and closed of by exclusive roads and checkpoints.

    • singer says:


      Haven’t you heard the news?

      A Palestinian state was recognized by UNESCO on 31 October 2011 when Palestine was admitted as the 195th member State of UNESCO.

      The Palestinian Arabs are no longer stateless.

      I happen to think the decision was unlawful. My efforts over the last five months to have this decision reversed by UNESCO have hit an impenetrable wall of silence,

      Whilst Palestine remains a member state of UNESCO – there is nothing one can do but proceed on the basis of this new reality.

Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published

Got something to say about this?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.