How the parties stack up on Palestine

MORE INFORMATION ON PARTY POSITIONS ON ISRAEL/PALESTINE: as an explanatory note to our scorecard

Supports the Recognition of Palestine

This rating refers to full diplomatic relations with Palestine, as 138 countries have done, affording it diplomatic equality with other nations,

  • Liberal/National: Liberal/National Governments have not expressed any openness to Australia formally Recognising Palestine.  Rather their policy is completely based in final negotiation of a two-state solution, and that Australia would not provide Palestine full diplomatic recognition until this time.  
  • Labor: The 2018 ALP National Conference called on the next Labor Government to Recognise Palestine and that this be an important priority for the next Government.
  • Greens: The Greens first called for formal Recognition of Palestine in 2011, which was reiterated in a 2015 Senate motion and regular statements since this time (May 2018, December 2018).

Supports East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine

This rating relates to how the party’s policy reflects UN resolutions about the Status of Jerusalem –that Israel should withdraw from those parts of Jerusalem occupied in the June 1967 war and subsequently illegally annexed.

  • Liberal/National: In December 2018, the Prime Minister indicated he identifies West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and acknowledged Palestinians have ‘aspirations’ to a capital in East Jerusalem. He also announced that instead of opening an Embassy to Israel in West Jerusalem, they would open a Trade and Defence office.  In April 2019, it was reported that the office had already been opened. In 2018, for the first time ever, Australia voted against a UN General Assembly resolution which reaffirms UN Security Council resolutions on the illegality of Israeli jurisdiction in occupied East Jerusalem and censures the siting of embassies in Jerusalem.
  • Labor: Statements by the Labor Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs indicate that they recognise both Palestinian and Israeli claims to Jerusalem and that Jerusalem is a final status issue in peace negotiations which should not be pre-empted.  In December 2018, the Shadow Foreign Minister announced that they did not support the Government’s decision about Jerusalem, and they would reverse this in Government. Under Labor Governments over the past three decades, Australia has both supported or abstained on the annual Jerusalem resolution in the UN General Assembly which reaffirms UN Security Council resolutions on the illegality of Israeli jurisdiction in occupied East Jerusalem and censures the siting of embassies in Jerusalem.
  • Greens: Greens policy views Jerusalem as a capital of both Palestine and Israel.  In December 2018, the Leader of the Greens condemned the Government’s decision to identify West Jerusalem as belonging to Israel.

Condemns illegal Israeli settlements

Israeli settlements are Jewish only neighbourhoods and cities built in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which consequently undermines any peace agreement based on the two-state solution.  These are also called colonies.  The Fourth Geneva Convention explicitly forbids Occupying Powers to transfer their civilians into occupied lands. 

This question refers to policy and public statements that: (1) condemn the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements; (2) support UN resolutions calling on Israel to withdraw its civilian population from occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem); and (3) condemn the expansion of any illegal Israeli settlements.

  • Liberal/National: The current Government has been largely silent about Israel’s expansion into Palestinian territory, and they have never referred to Israeli settlements as illegal. In fact in 2014, when the then Foreign Minister was asked by a journalist about their legality, she replied “I would like to see which international law has declared them illegal”. There has been the occasional muted comment expressing concern about settlements. . In December 2018 the Prime Minister stated “The settlements undermine peace – and contribute to the stalemate we now see”, and indicated he had expressed his concern to the Israeli Prime Minister.  In 2017 when Israel announced thousands of new units for settlements a spokesperson for the Foreign Minister said they were concerned, but when asked directly, the Foreign Minister refused to condemn the move.  Again in in March 2017, the Foreign Minister not only refused to acknowledge the settlements as illegal, but again refused to condemn them.  During the passage of the 2016 UN Security Council resolution, noting the illegality of the Israeli settlements and calling on Israel to withdraw from them, both the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister indicated that if we were on the Security Council then Australia would have voted against the resolution.
  • ALP: The resolution at the 2015 conference indicated that in Government, Labor held that  Settlements are illegal under international law.  Since then, Labor have been consistent in condemning settlement expansions as unhelpful, but has not been consistent in describing all settlements as illegal.  Under Labor Governments, Australia has usually supported a UN General Assembly resolution that settlements are illegal. The Shadow Foreign Minister has regularly condemned both settlement expansions and retrospective Israeli legalisation of settlement outposts (Dec 2018; Feb 2017). The Shadow Foreign Minister has consistently expressed that settlements are a roadblock to peace and undermine a two-state solution.  Disappointingly, the Shadow Foreign Minister indicated they did not support UN Security Council 2334, calling on Israel to withdraw from settlements.
  • Greens:  The Greens have been very vocal in speaking out against settlements, and their policy calls for not only a freeze on settlement building, but also the withdrawal of Israeli civilians from the West Bank.  The Greens Foreign Affairs spokespeople have issued strong statements about settlements – including identifying them as illegal (March 2016); calling settlement expansions land Grabs (Jan 2017); and aggressive land theft (Feb 2017). The Leader of the Greens asserted Australia should not sign defence agreements with Israel while they flout international law, including building settlements (Oct 2017).

Calls for an immediate end to Israel’s Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza       

All major political parties indicate they support a Two-State solution.   This rating refers to whether the party has an explicit policy of calling on Israel to immediately comply with the UN resolutions that have called on it to cease its Occupation of Palestinian territories, including the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.  A first step to this would be ending the crippling blockade of Gaza.

  • Liberal/National:  There have been no calls from the Liberal or National Parties for a withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied Palestinian territories or an end to the blockade in Gaza.  Rather the Foreign Minister calls for negotiations, as if there are two equal sides.
  • ALP: While the ALP is clear that they will not accept the Occupation to continue in perpetuity, they have never called for an immediate withdrawal of Israel from the West Bank, nor an end to the blockade of Gaza.
  • Greens: The Green Party policy, calls for an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the Israeli military from the West Bank and a withdrawal of the settlers.  In July 2018 the Leader of the Greens stated the illegal and inhumane blockade of Gaza must end immediately.