Australia reaffirms support for Israel

March 17, 2010 Agencies
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At a press briefing in Canberra this morning to hand down copies of the report of the Australia Israel Forum held last year,  Minister for Foreign Affairs Stephen Smith has powerfully reaffirmed Australia’s strong bonds of friendship with Israel. We reproduce a copy of the report.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith

He said that despite occasional blips like the passports issue  and disagreements about the construction announcement Australia remains unshakably committed to Israel as the State of the Jewish people and to its security.  MP’s comprising Parliamentary Friends of Israel were also present and were delighted with the announcement.

The full text of Minister Smith’s speech….

Albert Dadon, thank you very much. Firstly, can I welcome you to Parliament House today, and can I compliment you on the work that you have done so far as the Leadership Forum is concerned, but also so far as Australia and Israel relations are concerned.

Can I welcome Julie Bishop, the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Leader of the Opposition. Can I also welcome members of both sides of the Parliament. And I think that reflects the longstanding Australian support for Israel, longstanding Australian support for the peace process and longstanding Australian support for a long-term, enduring, sustainable peace in the Middle East.

So far as the Australia Israel Leadership Forum is concerned, the first leg, so to speak, of the forum occurred in 2008. The Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, led the Australian delegation on that occasion.

On the return leg in Melbourne in December last year, Julia Gillard again led the delegation, joined on that occasion by Julie Bishop as Deputy Leader of the Opposition.

And that leadership forum – both legs – was something which enables Australia and Israel to enhance its people-to-people links, to enhance its cultural exchanges and to continue to underpin the strength and warmth of the relationship between Australia and Israel.

On that occasion, while I was not able to attend the forum itself, I took the opportunity of meeting with Israeli Vice Premier Shalom, who accompanied the Israeli delegation.

Albert, I’m very happy on behalf of the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister to receive your report. Obviously, we will give your report serious consideration, as I’m sure other Members of the Parliament will.

Can I make this point: the friendship between Australia and Israel is longstanding and it is enduring, and that will continue.

Despite recent events, which have been the cause of public commentary between Australia and Israel, that friendship will endure.

And the strength of the commitment of all sides of Australian politics, of both sides of the Parliament, shared by Governments of both political persuasions for a considerable period of time, our support for Israel, our support for a two-state solution, our support for a long-term sustainable, enduring peace in the Middle East is ongoing and our strong commitment to that will not, in any way, waiver.

So Albert, we’re very pleased to receive your report. I know some of my parliamentary colleagues engaged in the Forum itself and will give it the appropriate consideration. And I think it’s my role now to invite Julie Bishop to make some remarks.

Read Dadon’s report


2 Responses to “Australia reaffirms support for Israel”
  1. Daryl says:

    Yes the message is not very clear here.
    I fervently hope that Australia’s ties with Israel will strengthen formidably with the new leadership. Israel needs allies, real ones. I support Israel and I want my government to do the same.

  2. Sol Salbe says:

    Can somebody please explain where is his statement does Mr Smith express support for Israel as a Jewish state? As far as I know this is not the Australian government’s position (its support the right of the citizens of Israel to determine what kind of state they have). Also it is difficult to find any reference to the passports issue in Mr Smith’s text either here or on his website. It would be interesting to know which of the agencies credited, actually drew those conclusions.

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