Senator David Feeney, Labor candidate for Batman

Party positions on the Question of Palestine
September 2013 Federal Election, Batman electorate, Victoria

Thank you for your email regarding Palestine and the Middle East peace process.

The Rudd Labor Government strongly supports a negotiated two-state solution that enables a secure Israel to live side by side with an independent Palestinian state. We welcome the fact that both sides have returned to direct negotiations.

Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, has confirmed his government’s commitment to a peaceful two-state solution. President of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, said that he was prepared to implement all their commitments and obligations.

Labor considers a negotiated two-state solution is the only way to realise a Palestinian state. As part of this process, Labor has consistently called on both sides to refrain from action that undermines prospects for negotiations.

I note that Israel in recent days has begun to release prisoners as a part of this process.

The Labor Government’s decision to abstain on the 2012 Palestinian statehood resolution balanced Australia’s support for a future Palestinian state with our view that the only way to achieve the reality of statehood for the Palestinians is direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

It is worth noting that Australia’s aid program will provide $300 million in assistance to the Palestinian people over five years (2011-2016), including $120 million in direct budget support to the Palestinian Authority. This funding provides practical assistance to build civil institutions..

I trust this information has been of assistance.

Yours sincerely

DAVID FEENEY