APAN calls on Government to terminate Bill Shorten’s trip to Israel

May 2, 2012

Israel’s decision to give recognition to three illegal outposts in the West Bank has outraged the international community, and highlighted again its indifference to concluding a peace deal with its Palestinian neighbours.  The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network has called on the Australian government to recall the Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation Bill Shorten who is currently on an official visit to Israel as leader of an Australian business delegation.

Last week the Israeli Government attracted worldwide condemnation, including from the US State Department, the UN Secretary General and other world leaders, for giving legal recognition to the outposts of Bruchin, Sansana, and Rechelim. Outposts as well as settlements are illegal under international law.  Israel has ignored countless UN resolutions calling on it to cease settlement activity.

In the same week, the Israeli Government also blocked moves to implement a High Court of Justice order to demolish the outpost of Ulapuna.  It also issued orders to a Palestinian village to demolish over 1,000 income-generating Olive Trees from their own land, while nearby settlements expand.

While Australia has spoken out against human rights abuses in other places around the world, on this it has been silent.

“Israel’s recent actions have been both arrogant and aggressive, and deliberately undermine what limited prospects there are for a resumption of negotiations for a just and lasting settlement” said APAN Vice President Robert Newton.  “Israel continues to act in breach of its obligations under international law.  Under its illegal military occupation of the West Bank and its blockade of the Gaza Strip, it continues to violate Palestinian human rights on a daily basis.  Australia should condemn Israel’s behaviour unequivocally”, he said.

Mr Newton said APAN was calling on the Australian government to recall immediately Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation Bill Shorten who is currently in Israel.  “Rather than having a Minister lead a trip organised by Israel lobbyists, the Australian government should be strongly condemning all of Israel’s breaches of International law”, he said.

Mr Newton added he was puzzled and disappointed by the failure of Australia’s Foreign Minister to condemn these latest outrages by Israel against a civilian population under its occupation.

Minister Bill Shorten is leading a Business Mission to Israel co-sponsored by the Israeli Embassy and the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce until May 5.

Links:

Ulapuna: http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=267927

Recognition of Settlements: http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2012/sgsm14252.doc.htm ; http://translations.state.gov/st/english/texttrans/2012/04/201204244507.html#axzz1taYdekSe; http://www.timesofisrael.com/leaders-blast-government-move-to-legalize-three-west-bank-outposts/

Bill Shorten’s visit: http://www.aicc.org.au/attachment/news/Bill%20Shorten%20MP%20-%20EXPRESSION%20OF%20INTEREST.pdf

Demolition of Olive trees: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-s-civil-administration-orders-palestinians-to-uproot-1-000-young-olive-trees-in-nature-reserve-1.427401

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