Australian PM Turnbull shows staunch support for Israel and the construction of illegal settlements

Published February 23rd, 2017 - 06:00 GMT
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull shake hands. (AFP/File)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull shake hands. (AFP/File)

Australia's prime minister has offered a staunch defence of Israel, condemning a United Nations resolution that called for an end to illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

In an editorial published in The Australian newspaper, Malcolm Turnbull said on Wednesday that he would never back "one-sided UN resolutions", as he welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Down Under.

"My government will not support one-sided resolutions criticising Israel of the kind recently adopted by the UN Security Council and we deplore the boycott campaigns designed to delegitimise the Jewish state," Turnbull said.

Last month, the UN Security Council's demanded Israel halt settlements in the occupied territories in a "big blow" to Israeli policy.

Turnbull lavished on the praise for Israel, hailing the "old friendship" between the two countries, as Netanyahu became the first Israeli Prime Minister to visit Australia.

"Israel is a miraculous nation. It has flourished despite invasion, conflict and an almost complete lack of natural resources, other than the determination and genius of its people," Turnbull said.

"As a majority Christian nation, we share the rich cultural inheritance of the Bible, its stories and values a foundation and a context for our history, our literature, our imagination," he added.

The Prime Minister also reiterated Australia's support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The state visit has been met with anger, a group of 60 business leaders, academics, members of the clergy and former politicians signed a letter released on Monday saying that Australia should not welcome Netanyahu, claiming his policies "provoke, intimidate and oppress" the Palestinians.

"Israel continues to defy all United Nations calls for it to comply with international law in respect of its illegal settlement building, and its treatment of the indigenous Palestinian population," the letter reads.

Demonstrations are planned in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney during the visit.

The letter also calls on the Australian government to reassess its "one-sided" backing of Netanyahu's government.

Israel passed a new law this month that legalises dozens of Jewish outposts and thousands of settler homes built on private Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank.

The international community sees the settlements as illegal and a major obstacle to peace in the region.

Copyright @ 2022 The New Arab.

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