FORMER prime minister Kevin Rudd has lashed out at Israel’s planned annexation of large parts of the West Bank, calling on the Morrison government to “speak up” against the move, and urging Israel to “urgently reconsider” it.
Rudd’s comments come on the eve of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s July 1 target date for the proposal, which designates some 30 per cent of the West Bank for Israel and the rest for a prospective Palestinian state.
Speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald, Rudd said annexation would undermine the shared goal of a two-state solution and violate international law.
“As a longstanding supporter of Israel’s right to exist with peace and security for the Israeli people, I urge the Israeli government to urgently reconsider this proposed course of action,” he told the newspaper.
Stating that the Morrison government had an obligation to “speak up” in defence of international law, Rudd said, “Australia has consistently taken the lead when this most basic of our international norms had been breached.
“And as a member of the UN, we have a responsibility to promote and protect the rules-based order which is the bedrock of our own security and stability.”
Noting any two-state solution should be in line with international law and relevant UN Security Council resolutions, he added, “Both sides have legitimate concerns that need to be addressed in order for both states to exist side-by-side with equal rights and peace and security for their citizens.”
The AJN has approached Foreign Minister Marise Payne for comment.
The comments come after New Zealand last week joined an ever-growing list of countries expressing “serious concern” about Israel’s planned annexation.
“The New Zealand government’s view is that annexation would gravely undermine the two-state solution, breach international law, and pose significant risks to regional security. We call on Israel to reconsider these plans,” Foreign Minister Winston Peters said.
Meanwhile, Australia’s Jewish roof body, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), said it was “closely monitoring” developments in Israel, and would not comment further until a formal announcement was made.
“At present, no announcement has been made as to whether any such action will take place, and if so, over what areas and on what terms,” ECAJ said.
“It is also unclear whether or not the extension of sovereignty would be in the context of the resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.”