Media Release 27 July 2015

Labor Makes Progress on Palestine

The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network welcomes the motion that was passed today at the ALP National Conference regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In particular, it applauds its recognition that any resolution of the conflict must be based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, a timeframe to end Israeli occupation and an agreement on a solution to Palestinian refugee issues.

“It’s a significant step forward,” said APAN’s President George Browning. “President Obama has been saying that the borders between Israel and Palestine should be based on 1967 lines since 2011. This brings Labor much closer to the international consensus on the issue.”

The Netanyahu government emphatically refuses to consider any return to its 1967 borders, insisting that Israel maintain control over all of Jerusalem, the settlement blocs and the Jordan Valley as part of any future peace agreement.

APAN also welcomes the motion’s call for Israel to cease all settlement expansion in the Occupied Territories.

“This is a very important development,” Browning said. “The purpose of Israel’s entire settlement enterprise is to prevent a two-state solution by creating irreversible facts on the ground. The Rudd-Gillard government recognised that the settlements were illegal and supported UN resolutions condemning settlement expansion – a move that has been reversed by the Abbott government. I’m encouraged that Labor is standing its ground on this issue.”

Browning noted that the motion had failed to recognise Palestinian statehood but noted that it held out the possibility that Labor might do so in the future if there is no progress in the next round of the peace process.

“The truth is that there is no ‘next round of the peace process’,” Browning said. “The last peace negotiations broke down more than a year ago over Israel’s refusal to honour its promise to release Palestinian prisoners or halt settlement expansion. Since then, even the Americans seem to have given up.”

Overall, however, Browning says that he is happy with the motion.

“In politics you rarely get all that you want. I understand that Australia’s Israel lobby has been working very hard behind the scenes to block any progress. The motion opens the door to the recognition of Palestinian statehood and that’s a positive.”

For further information phone:

Michael Shaik: 0431 573 368