Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Friday criticized last week’s anti-Israel United Nations Security Council resolution as a “deeply unsettling” measure that would not help bring about a two-state solution, the Australian Jewish News reported.
Speaking at a Chanukah celebration at Central Synagogue in Sydney, the prime minister described resolution 2334, which condemns Israeli presence in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, as “deeply unsettling for our community.”
“Australia stands with Israel. We support Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East,” Trumbull said, reiterating his nation’s support for a “peaceful resolution” to Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “We support a two-state solution just as the government of Israel does.”
Trumbull emphasized that a two-state solution “can only be negotiated between the parties,” not through UN involvement. “It is not assisted by one-sided resolutions made at the councils of the United Nations or anywhere else, and that is why Australia has not, and does not, support one-sided resolutions,” he said.
While urging both side to do all they can to achieve a two-state solution, ultimately “these issues can only be resolved by the State of Israel and the Palestinian community,” Trumbull said.
““We support Israel in its efforts to achieve that solution,” the prime minister added. “Above all, we stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel in the fight against terrorists.”
Trumbull’s condemnation follows comments by his foreign minister, Julie Bishop, who indicated on Thursday that Australia would have voted against the resolution had it been on the Security Council. Australia’s ruling Liberal Party rejects the premise that Israeli settlements violate international law, arguing that their status should be determined through a peace deal with the Palestinians.
“I don’t think it’s helpful to prejudge the settlement issue if you’re trying to get a negotiated solution. And by deeming the activity as a war crime, it’s unlikely to engender a negotiated solution,” Bishop said in a January 2014 interview with the Times of Israel. “The issue of Israeli settlements should be determined in the course of the current US-brokered peace talks.” Those talks ended a few months later when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas refused to accept an American-proposed framework agreement.
Australia’s position in consistent with the 1995 Oslo II Accord between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which identified settlements as a topic for final status talks.
Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren warned in Newsweek on Wednesday that Washington’s decision not to veto the Security Council resolution endangered Israel by denying the centuries-old Jewish connection to eastern Jerusalem, harmed the Palestinians by perpetuating their statelessness, and damaged U.S. credibility throughout the Middle East by reversing longstanding American guarantees to protect Israel from one-sided UN resolutions. The resolution was opposed by many top Democratic and Republican politicians, and praised by the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
[Photo: ABC News (Australia) / YouTube ]