Palestine – Carr Crash Cause For Concern…writes David Singer

January 21, 2013 by David Singer
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Australia’s Foreign Minister – Senator Bob Carr – and his advisers at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) are obviously unaware that the Palestinian Authority (PA) no longer exists – following the issue of a Presidential decree to this effect by Mahmoud Abbas on 3 January.

A member of the Palestinian legal team that formerly negotiated with Israel – John Whitbeck –  confirmed the demise of the PA in an article published in the Cyprus Mail on 13 January.

My article on this dramatic development – “Palestine – Trojan Horse Exposes Duplicitous Doublecross” ( was published in JWire on January 17 – and included this unequivocal assertion by Mr Whitbeck:

“The Trojan horse called the “Palestinian Authority” in accordance with the Oslo interim agreements and the “Palestinian National Authority” by Palestinians, having served its purpose by introducing the institutions of the State of Palestine on the soil of Palestine, has now ceased to exist.”

On 18 January Senator Carr, the Australian Minister for Defence – Stephen Smith- and the UK Foreign and Defence Secretaries, William Hague and Philip Hammond, met in Perth for the fifth Australia-UK Ministerial Consultations (AUKMIN).

In a communique issued at the conclusion of the meeting the Ministers stated:

“The Palestinian Authority and the new Israeli government must engage seriously in negotiations without preconditions. Actions by both sides must be in the interests of peace. Neither side should create obstacles to that objective”

The obstacle to engaging in such negotiations is pretty basic – the PA is dead and buried.

Compounding their gaffe the Ministers continued:

” We call on the Palestinian Authority to exercise restraint and avoid provocative actions at international forums.”

The PA has vanished into thin air – no longer able to cause or avoid provocative actions and will no longer be seen at international forums.

To compound the pathetic attempt of our Foreign Minister to speak with authority on the Jewish  – Arab conflict – the communique went on to categorically assert:

“All settlements are illegal under international law and settlement activity undermines the prospects for peace.”

William Hague and Senator Bob Carr

William Hague and Senator Bob Carr

There is an alternative legal argument that postulates any such settlements are legal in international law under article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

Who in DFAT came up with this communique? Is this Senator Carr’s own personal  viewpoint or something that has been dreamed up by others?

Either the PA exists or it does not exist – and the evidence is overwhelming that it has ceased to exist.

There is no authoritative legal judgement to my knowledge to enable AUKMIN or DFAT to assert the settlements are illegal in international law.

I have previously urged DFAT to take a lead role at UNESCO to seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the legality of  the decision by UNESCO to admit Palestine as a member state in October 2011 on unlawful,constitutional and legal grounds.

Australia opposed doing so – even though it had voted against the UNESCO resolution. It has proved to be a misjudgement of disastrous proportions – leading to the demise of the PA and the end of any further negotiations under the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap.

Australia has long had an abiding interest in bringing peace to both Jews and Arabs since then Minister for External Affairs -Doctor Herbert Evatt – chaired the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine that recommended separate Jewish and Arab states be created within western Palestine in 1947.

Australia’s elevation to a seat on the Security Council for the next two years places it in a pivotal position to influence the conclusion of a peace agreement between Arabs and Jews.

Certainly the current communique does anything but contribute to achieving that goal.

Senator Carr is heading an Organization that is clearly on a collision course with reality.

Senator Carr and DFAT now need to give a full and detailed explanation to justify the above statements made in the DFAT communique – if Australia hopes to play any constructive role in ending a conflict that has now lasted more than 130 years.

This Carr crash has been in the making since the Senator assumed the role of Foreign Minister in March 2012.

The fall out and casualties caused by his reckless disregard of facts and international law seems set to continue.


David Singer is a Sydney Lawyer and Foundation Member of the International Analysts Network

Editor’s note

The Foreign Minister responded to the above article by saying

“Mr Singer is entitled to his views.
But the issue at hand is not Mr Singer’s opinion on the name of the Palestinian Authority.

It is the resumption of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, without preconditions and with the aim of delivering a two-state solution comprising an independent Palestinian state alongside a safe and secure Israel.”


14 Responses to “Palestine – Carr Crash Cause For Concern…writes David Singer”
  1. Raoul says:

    Until the day Western politicians like Mr Carr not only come to understand, but jointly act on this understanding, that the Israeli/Arab conflict is not about some lines in the sand, but about the existence of Israel and its Jewishness, there will be no end to this debacle.

    If Mr Carr & Co think this is not an Islamic problem, which can only be resolved by strict enforcement of a segregation along a natural divide like the river Jordan, they remain in a state of delusion. The Dunning Kruger effect comes to mind. Churchill and the Western politicians at the time of the San Remo accord understood the nature of the problem, and they knew what the solution. The League of Nation adopted the solution and the UN inherited the solution from the LoN. However, the UN failed to act upon it. As a consequence today’s political leaders have either lost this understanding, or they have lost the proverbial balls to act on it.

    But the San Remo and the solution is still there to be taken seriously and implemented: The land east of the river Jordan has been the designated Arab/Muslim state since 24 July 1922.
    Call this Trans-Jordan, Jordan, or Jordan-Palestine – but west of the river is Israel. Full stop.
    If orthodox Muslims or Arab nationalists find it unbearable to live side-by-side with Jews in Israel, there is the designated Islamic part of Palestine, now called Jordan.

    This is the inconvenient truth which must be repeated ad nausea and upheld in word and deed.
    The louder and more forceful the world community insists on this fact, the sooner it will sink in the minds of those on the Arab/Islamic side who still seek to follow the suras and hadiths which demand the subjugation, islamisation or extermination of the Jewish people. The famous three choices. Not that Islam has anything less in mind for everyone else, but as the old Islamic diddle goes: First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people.

    • Paul Winter says:

      Perfectly right Raoul. Our leaders must first of all take a firm and principled stance and that must include identifying, exposing and denouncing the deceit of our enemies, including Jewish ones.

      Equally, if as David points out the PA extiguished itself, there is no valid entity to undertake negotiations nor is there one entitiled to act on behalf of the Palestinian Arabs, so Israel should be free to impose whatever is in the best interest of its citizens and of the non-citizen residents of Judea and Samaria. One of the first things it should do is to disarm the PA security forces, which no longer have anything to secure. It should also take over the running of all infrastucture which the demised PA no longer has a right to control.

    • David says:


      Great comment.

      Carr and cronies need to face up to the fact that Jews were given the legal right under article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine to close settlement in the West Bank on state land and waste land not required for public purposes without prejudice to the civil and religious ( but not political) rights of the ” non- Jewish communities” (not even a mention of Arabs or Palestinians) .

      This position has been preserved in article 80 of the UN Charter.

      The UN acting contrary to the terms of its own Charter is a perversion of the law and a negation of any sense of fairness and justice.

      Australia’s failure to articulate these arguments is a disgrace.

      Mr Carr – what do you and your policy advisors at DFAT have to say about these claims?

  2. Liat Nagar says:

    I would like to add here that up until as recently as two or three years ago I supported the idea of a two State solution. I’ve lived in Israel, visited many times, and read and studied histories and literature of the Jews and Arab peoples, so feel I have some understanding of the situation from both points of view; I’ve enjoyed friendships with both peoples, although many more with Jews. My reason for no longer supporting the notion of the two State solution rests solely with the words, written and spoken, and the behaviour of the Palestinian people and their extreme supporters. That they absolutely cannot be trusted is a given. That they hate and want to see an end to the Jewish State is a given. Where else is there to go with this? Ask these questions of any of the politicians trying to enforce peace negotiations or of any of the supporters of the Palestinians’ cause and one is met with silence or obfuscation.

    • David says:


      Spot on.

      Words count and the politicians are not listening or choosing to ignore what the Arabs are shouting from the rooftops – without fear of being told to go take a running jump.

      The Arab invective and undisguised hatred is disgusting.

  3. Liat Nagar says:

    This ‘Policy failure’ is probably one that Carr wishes to blunder through with due to his own predilections. It seems most of the world want to believe Palestinian propaganda, including most world leaders, so he’s not exactly operating here within an uncomfortable framework. If something is said often enough and for long enough, people tend to forget whether it has basis for truth or not, and that is the situation we have with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Carr is contributing to that with either pretence or ignorance – only he knows which of the two apply.

    It’s a frightening scenario that people at this level of governance don’t bother with recognition of ‘actual’ laws and realities. As to Bob Carr’s calibre, I think you’re more than generous in your implication here – I live in Victoria, not NSW, but agree with Bernhard’s comments in this regard. I also agree that for many, even if at a sub-conscious level, the existence of the Jewish State has always been problematic to say the least. This burst of energy by the Palestinians to wrest for themselves their own ‘legitimate’ State by inveigling their way in via UN recognition as an ‘observer member’ is a clever ploy and one so many countries have supported with a foolish sense of righteousness. Those who wish Israel ill now practise anti-Semitism under the new guise of the Palestinian cause, bolstered wittingly or unwittingly by the majority of member countries of the UN.

    • David says:


      The irony is that when the United Nations in 1947 offered the Palestinian Arabs far more than they are inveigling the UN for now – they rejected the UN offer -which led to six armies invading Palestine.

      Even after the West Bank and Gaza and East Jerusalem were conquered by Jordan – the Palestinian Arabs chose to unify these areas with Jordan – doing nothing in the next 17 years to create their own state in contrast to the fictitious ” State of Palestine ” that they are trumpeting today.

      Their spurious claims and blatant use of the majority Arab and third world majority at the UN should be rejected by the world’s democracies.

      These democracies should direct their time and energy dealing with Iran, Syria, Mali, and the Kurds.

      The Palestinian Arabs have had plenty of opportunities to seal a deal going back to 1937 – and have not proved up to it.

      How much longer is the world prepared to indulge their rejectionist stance?

      Go figure.

  4. Bernhard says:

    Why does the image of a bull blundering in a china shop come to mind when I read Mr Carr’s press releases? As a NSW resident I have seen only too well the effects of Mr Carr’s doings, and now he is doing a Carr to the rest of the world, with particular effect on the Middle East.
    If Mr Carr is such a history expert he would know that the real obstacle to peace is the mere existance of a Jewish state, not a few settlements, be they legal or not.
    Israel is not going away, so anyone interested in proposing peace should be legitimising Israel’s right to exist, and only when the Arab states accept its reality can there be any prospects of real peace.
    Every attack on Israel gives its enemies encouragement, making peace more difficult, especailly when such attacks come from a friend of the Jewish state.
    Please Mr carr, ensure that your facts, both historical and current, are correct.

    • David says:


      Well expressed.

      Trouble is there is one Jewish State confronting 21 Arab states and another 36 unfriendly Moslem States.

      In these circumstances Australia sees its national interest as being with the Arab and Muslim world.

      In essence Australia has been a supporter of Israel – treading a fine line but standing behind the Jewish State.

      When it makes a statement that “the settlements are illegal in international law” when at best that position is legally disputed and has never been judicially determined – then one can see a shift in support that is disturbing.

      Senator Carr should produce some proof to back up his opinion.

      You will notice he was careful not to respond to the legal argument I put in my article to at least raise grave doubts that there is no binding legal decision on the issue of Jewish settlement in the West Bank.

      I wonder why?

  5. Liat Nagar says:

    We can expect no better from Bob Carr as Foreign Minister due to his very real inadequacy for the job. His personal tendencies to speak and act too quickly in order to make his mark, and his knee jerk reactions motivated by his own ego, completely get in the way of the factual reality on the ground, the law in all its complexity and any notion of responsibility to the far-reaching international connotations his position might entail.

    His response to your article, David, is more than puzzling. It doesn’t even speak to the subject specifically (that’s ‘avoidance’, I suppose), is devoid of intellectual rigour, and relies on political spin that has already been publicised, as its main issue and justification, disregarding the facts as if they don’t exist! Incredible. However, understandable, as this official statement has been issued by William Hague and Bob Carr, so now must be blindly and grimly adhered to.

    • David says:


      I sometimes wonder why politicians of the calibre of Carr and Hague are more interested in saving face rather than accepting that a mistake has been made that needs to be rectified.

      Policy failures are very serious – especially when they are based on wrong facts.

      Both Ministers can’t go on pretending the Palestinian Authority still exists.

      Mr Carr still appears willing to do so – even after being tipped off by my article.

      His continuing state of denial must seriously impact on Australia’s efforts to get negotiations resumed before a substitute negotiating partner – acceptable to Israel – has been found by the Palestinian Arabs to replace the Palestinian Authority.

      Doing this will not be easy. There are so many factions and divisions now in the Palestinian Arab political scene. Getting Israel to meet any of them will not be easy.

      If Australia is serious about negotiations being resumed to achieve a mutually agreed two-state solution then it needs to address this problem of representation urgently.

  6. David says:

    To Senator Carr:

    I find your response to my article very puzzling.

    With the greatest respect – the demise of the Palestinian Authority is not my opinion. It is the stated position of the PLO conveyed by a decree issued by Mahmoud Abbas and confirmed by a member of its legal negotiating team.

    How the DFAT communique can therefore refer to an Organization that no longer exists being a partner for negotiations with Israel still needs to be explained by you.

    The problem is that before any negotiations can even begin – a new negotiating partner will have to be nominated to replace the Palestinian Authority.

    This will require:

    1. Israel to agree to any such substitute and

    2. The new Arab negotiator and Israel agreeing to negotiate on the basis of Oslo and the Roadmap OR new parameters that are agreed on by the parties.

    Trying to gloss over these problems is only guaranteed to result in the indefinite postponement of any negotiations being resumed.

    In the ensuing void that will inevitably be created – Israel cannot be expected to sit on its haunches.

    Is Australia addressing these issues? Given its gaffe on the Palestinian Authority I would gues not a thought has been given to these changed circumstances.

    • Paul Winter says:

      David, your logic and adherence to legalities count for nothing with politicians who make statements and act as though they were based on law, justice, decency or fact. Both Carr and Hague are pursuing national and party interests and turning on Jews is negligable in comparison.

      • David says:


        You are correct. However these politicians cannot be allowed to act as though they are law abiding when they clearly are not.

        The so called “national interest” is the excuse such politicians use to justify their unlawful conduct.

        More often than not they get hoisted on their own petard.

        They are poor examples to hold up to encourage people to abide by the law.

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