ECAJ writes to Penny Wong ahead of UN vote

May 9, 2024 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The Executive Council of Australian Jewry has reaffirmed its parallel position with the Australian government in a two-state solution to be reached by direct negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians ahead of the United Nations General Assembly vote on admitting Palestine as a full member.

The ECAJ has done so in a letter sent to Australia’s Foreign Minister, Senator Penny Wong.

The letter states: “The principle of “two States for two peoples” was originally enshrined in United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 adopted on 29 November 1947. That resolution was passed in accordance with the recommendations of the report of the majority of the members of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP), the rationale for which is as true today as it was when it was first articulated in that report: “Regardless of the historical origins of the conflict, the rights and wrongs, there are now in Palestine, Jews and Arabs who are dissimilar in their ways of living and separated by political interests. Only by means of partition can these conflicting national aspirations find substantial expression and qualify both peoples to take their places as independent nations.

The question, therefore, is not of support or opposition to a two-state solution, but of how practically to achieve this necessary aim.”

The letter has reiterated that there is no infrastructure in place that can be the basis for which Palestine can be simply voted into existence.

The infrastructure would contain institutions “would preferably be of a democratic nature, bringing freedom and prosperity to its people and withstanding internal security pressures that will pose a threat to regional stability. The establishment of a functioning State would require comprehensive reform of the Palestinian Authority, and the eradication of those forces fundamentally and irredeemably opposed to the very notion of nation states, let alone peaceful coexistence alongside the Jewish nation state. Voting to admit Palestine as a full member of the United Nations when no functioning State Voting to admit Palestine as a full member of the United Nations when no functioning State exists, is inconsistent with the past practice of Australian governments concerning the criteria for recognition of putative new States.”

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry has pointed out to Penny Wong that a successful vote would serve as a victory for terrorism and would undermine those who have been working towards coexistence.

In the letter, the ECAJ quoted from a speech former Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard delivered in 2014:

“Everyone talks about a two-state solution, I did consistently as Prime Minister. That is my view today. There is – there can be – no other course. Everyone understands a State for Palestine. But not everyone says there should be a State of Israel.

Indeed, some countries, some leaders, still want a world without Israel.

Those are the words that come out of the lips of the leaders in Tehran, and Gaza, and Southern Lebanon.

I am convinced that the key to peace for Israelis and Palestinians is a simple declarative statement by Palestinian leaders – that they accept Israel as a Jewish State.

Once that is stipulated, then virtually everything can be successfully negotiated – because Israel’s existential identity is successfully secured.

Once that is stipulated, two great peoples can finally begin working together to build themselves up as an economic powerhouse in the region, as a wellspring of science and innovation, as leaders in agriculture, water conservation, solar power and renewable energy.”

The declarative statement to which Prime Minister Gillard referred, to this day has not been made.”

The letter signed by president Daniel Aghion and co-CEOs Peter Wertheim and Alex Ryvchin concludes by saying:

“This is most revealing of the realities of the conflict, the failure of the peace process to date and what is urgently needed to rekindle it.

We urge this Government to remain steadfast in the face of short-sighted and harmful measures initiated by those more interested in damaging Israel’s international standing than in achieving a peaceful future for both Israelis and Palestinians.

We urge this Government to vote against the resolution in the General Assembly and instead to be guided by the principles of the Gillard Doctrine, as a sincere and meaningful action towards mutual recognition, peace and justice for both sides.”


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