Jerusalem: Foreign Minister must join condemnations of US Embassy move

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 “Australia must join condemnations of Trump’s provocative move of its embassy to Jerusalem” said Bishop George Browning, the President of the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network “If the Foreign Minister refuses to join condemnations, then any talk of supporting the two-state solution is just empty rhetoric”.

Trump’s move has been condemned around the world – throughout the Middle East, Europe, China and even by Pope Francis.  “As America’s close ally, Australia’s silence makes it complicit in Trump’s undermining of peace negotiations” continued Bishop Browning.

“This is a one-sided and unilateral move by Trump” said Bishop Browning “If the US is going to  recognise West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, then it must simultaneously recognise East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine”.

“APAN is relieved that the Foreign Minister has ruled out moving Australia’s Embassy, but we cannot be neutral when Trump is overthrowing the basis of all peace negotiations”.

“Opinion Polls consistently show Australians want our Government to actively support Palestinian independence” continued Bishop Browning.  “Australia must condemn unilateral moves that undermine prospects of a just and lasting peace”.

The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network is a national peak body for groups and individuals who are concerned about Palestinian human rights and justice.  APAN can provide for interview former diplomats, senior clergy, and members of the Australian Palestinian and Jewish communities.

MR: Australia must not follow Trump over a cliff on Jerusalem

The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network condemns Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem and calls on Julie Bishop to confirm Australia’s Embassy will stay in Tel Aviv.

Trump phoned Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas informing him, and will formally announce the decision on Wednesday (US time).

“Trumps announcement throws a match into the tinder-box of Palestinian frustration” said Bishop George Browning, President of the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network “Trump’s decision is a unilateral move of interference that shows complete disregard for the foundations of peace negotiations”.

“The right-wing extremists have taken over Israel and the White House” continued Bishop Browning, “Australia must stay with the international consensus and keep our Embassy in Tel Aviv”.

In Australia Christian-Zionists and conservative Liberals such as Eric Abetz and Senator Patterson have been agitating for Australia to also move our Embassy to Jerusalem.

Israel took Jerusalem by force in 1967 and its continued military occupation of East Jerusalem is illegal and illegitimate.  Jerusalem being a shared capital of both Palestine and Israel has been a cornerstone of all negotiations, as the city is so central to both parties.

“Trumps announcement gives Israel a green light to take whatever it likes by force” continued Bishop Browning.  “What is holding back real peace is Israel thinking it can take whatever it likes and get away with it”.

“Polls consistently show Australians want our Government to actively support Palestinian independence” continued Bishop Browning, “Australia must unequivocally rule out any move of our Embassy”.

The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network is a national peak body for groups and individuals who are concerned about Palestinian human rights and justice.  APAN can provide for interview former diplomats, senior clergy, and members of the Australian Palestinian and Jewish communities.

Don’t whitewash Palestinians from Beersheba

UPDATE: APAN President writes to the Prime Minister following the disturbing tone of the Beersheba commemorations.

It wasn’t just foreign troops fighting the Ottomans 100 years ago. Local Palestinians had joined the campaign when Britain promised them self-rule should they win the war.

However the Palestinians were betrayed – they weren’t granted independence and 100 years later are still waiting.

Those who shared the danger of the Palestinian campaigns, should be honored in commemorations. However Palestinian stories are completely missing from commemorations.

And while we’re here….as Australian dignitaries visit Beersheba, may they know that just a few kilometres away, Palestinian Bedouin villages are being cleared and demolished.

Read APAN media release.

APAN supports reconciliation deal

The announcement of an accord between Hamas and Fatah deserves encouragement and support from the international community.

While this is a tentative first step with many issues left to be addressed, it is nevertheless a step that must bring a glimmer of hope to the people of Gaza.  The fact that the agreement was negotiated with the assistance of Egypt is also encouraging, especially if the border between Gaza and Egypt will now more flexibly permit movement of people and trade.

It is to be hoped that the Australian government will publicly express its encouragement for the agreement and partner with an international strategy to further strengthen this tentative step. It is important that the Palestinian voice at the negotiating table gain increased legitimacy.

That Prime Minister Netanyahu has already poured cold water on the agreement saying it will make peace harder, is hardly surprising.  Netanyahu has always made it clear that he does not want a unified Palestinian authority that speaks for all Palestinians. He would rather live with the excuse that he has no one legitimate with whom to negotiate.

We strongly commend the statement made by the spokesperson for the PLO Dr Hanan Ashrawi.

APAN stands with Issa Amro

The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN) expresses its deep concern about the arrest of Issa Amro following his criticism of the Palestinian authorities on Facebook.  

Amnesty International has called the arrest a “shameless attack on freedom of expression”. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Office has expressed its concern and said it will be monitoring the case, stating it is vital for citizens to have uninhibited expression regarding public figures.  Continue reading