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Posted by wmmbb in Israel-Palestine.

Earlier this year, Senator George Brandis, QC had suggested East Jerusalem was now part of Israel. So as for much of the West Bank, East Jerusalem seems to have changed its legal status, at least in the eyes of the Israel by building facts on the ground, has eroded its legal status by stealth, from occupation to annexation.

As a result I asked my Federal Member to seek clarification, particularly in relation to the ongoing house demolitions, dispossession of Palestinians and denial of their human rights. He duly handballed the enquiry to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop. She replied on 8 August to a letter sent on 8 July, which was in response to my request for a ministerial representation made on 1 July 2014. The Foreign Minister confirmed what I thought to be the position. She wrote:

There is no change in the Australian Government’s position on the legal status of the Palestinian Territories. Our position is consistent with relevant UN resolutions adopted over many years, including UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

There are many other UN Security Council Resolutions. The Reut Institute, an Israeli think tank, describes Resolution 242 and 338:

This term refers to UN Security Council Resolutions that lay the foundation for the Israeli-Palestinian political process, based on territorial compromise and a solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees.


The term UN Resolutions 242 and 338 refers to two resolutions approved by the UN Security Council. Resolution 242 was approved after the 1967 war (11/67) while Resolution 338 was approved during the 1973 war (10/73).


UN Resolutions 242 and 338 call for the peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict through territorial compromise. The acceptance of the Resolutions by Arab elements indicates their recognition of Israel.

The political process between Israel and the Arabs – including the 1978 Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt (9/78), the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty (3/79), the Madrid Conference (10/91), the Peace Treaty between Israel and Jordan (10/94), and the structure of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process since 9/93 – is founded on these Resolutions.

Content of Resolutions

The main articles of UN Security Council Resolution 242 (11/67) call for:

  • Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the 1967 war.
  • Termination of the state of belligerency.
  • Mutual “acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area, and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.”
  • Achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem.

Resolution 338 (10/73) reiterates the importance of Resolution 242, and calls upon the sides to begin negotiations with the aim of achieving a just and durable peace.

The Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop added:

On 19 June, I held a constructive meeting with the representatives of the Arab and Islamic countries accredited in Canberra. At that meeting I provided a letter reaffirming that there had been no change in the Government’s position on the legal status of the Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem. I took the opportunity to emphasise Australia’s long standing support for a just and lasting two-state solution, with Israel and a Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security, within internationally recognised borders. I also emphasised our enduring commitment to productive relations with Arab and Islamic countries.

Julie Bishop may be the only woman in Cabinet, and thankfully she, not Senator Brandis, is the Foreign Minister. Arguably, and more emphatically, Israel has no interest in peaceful coexistence with their Palestinian “brothers and sisters”. There are interesting historical claims and counter claims of the Jewish right of return to historical Palestine, and the notion of a “Jewish People”. Shalomo Sand argues that the history of settlement cannot be undone. Rather than settling for a truce to be predictably broken surrounded by the predictable recriminations (and criminality), I recommend the creation of a truce, something on the model of the Treaty of Waitangi, in which rights, both human rights and the rights to land are recognized. Experientially, the recognition of rights at the macro-level influence the outcome of conflict at the personal level. Equally, it is observable that violence entrenches the dehumanization of the other that made it possible, while escalating greater violence and making the necessary human reconciliation more elusive.

From the “Israeli” point of view they have been subject to a ongoing terrorist campaign. From the Palestinian view they have been subject to a ongoing, ruthless process of dehumanization, genocide and dispossession, which gets it full expression in episodic massacres of civilians, of which the current experience is the latest example. The mass murder of civilians is intentional. You are reduced according to the Dahiya Doctrine of fighting terror with the greater terror made possible by asymmetrical warfare and the critical support and complicity of the United States.

Why the United States plays this role and follows it broader policy in the Middle East is beyond me, other to suppose that control and security of the Middle East oil fields is equivalent to the importance the Roman Empire placed on the Mediterranean Sea. The implication would be then that the fossil fuel corporations have an massive and disproportionate influence on the formulation of US foreign policy. Then, as President Eisenhower famously did, the Military-Industrial (Congressional) Complex is an ingredient of any accurate analysis.

It is little noticed, much less commented upon, that the Israeli military doctrine applied in Gaza is together with the mass murder of civilians, mostly dispossessed refugees, is blowing away Australian aid. To quote from the Julie Bishop’s letter:

Australia’s longstanding commitment to contribute to the peace process in a practical way is reflected in the ongoing development assistance we provide to the Palestinian Territories. Since 2010-11, Australia has provided close to $200 million in aid to the Palestinians. In 2014-15, Australia will provide approximately $56.5 million in aid – a three per cent increase from 2013-14.

I wish to express my thanks to the Minister for Foreign Affairs for kindly providing the information, and for my local member for making the ministerial representation. I am pleased that Australia continues to promote a just peace in historical Palestine. Since our relationship with the United States precludes the exercise of a critical independent and impartial role, there is the possibility of expertise and help, especially to the civilian population of Gaza.

Pink Floyd, “Song for Palestine”:

The big difference from 2009 is that White Phosphorus is not now used:

There are reports that both sides have agreed to terms for a long term truce.

Mona Qasim El-Farrah reports from Gaza:

Non stop shelling against gaza city …block towers .schools mosques has been destroyed completely .nobody is asleep tonight …the smell and sound of bombs is strong many more displaced families are wandering in the streets of gaza tonight …we are under savage attacks …and on the 51th day of the attack it seems that the world got bored of our news.!!

Facing dark destiny standing up alone

The Israeli leadership in order to save face continue the killing until the ceasefire comes into effect. Where is the rule of law? ” They are not simply war criminals; they are fools”.


Respect for International Law, and the recognition of the human and legal rights of all persons is fundamental to the just and peaceful resolution of conflicts. Any nation state that breeches their obligations, whether Israel or Australia (in relation to hijacking of vessels with refugees) should be condemned. We need a common sense of humanity and jus gentium. (Hopefully this is an accurate reference.) It is hopefully not fanciful that such a rule of law can now be sustained by the force of global public opinion, unlike the model established, for example, by the Roman Empire. The article by Richard Falk and Akbar Ganji referenced above, and presumably others, is a good reference in relation to what in my mind is appalling behavior, motivated by domestic political calculations combined with a sense of inpunity.


1. Ken Kelso - August 30, 2014

Stop with your lies.
The Palestinians want to destroy all Jewish history in Jerusalem.

PA TV: Western Wall area to be turned into Arab housing neighborhood.
Palestinian Authority TV:
Western Wall area to be turned into Arab housing neighborhood -Jewish presence in Jerusalem will be erased from history.
Aug. 17, 2011
PA officials: Jews have ‘no right to pray’ at Western Wall.
Judge Tayseer Al-Tamimi says Al-Aqsa Mosque, including Jewish holy site, is Islamic and belongs to Muslims alone.
March 27, 2014.

wmmbb - August 31, 2014

You are right Ken, we should seek the truth.

I still consider it is important to establish a treaty, if only to recognize the rights of all. That does not mean there will not be conflicts.

What about a role reversal whereby you present the arguments for Palestinians and I will do my best to express the position from a Jewish point of view? The problem I would have is that there are so many points of view. No doubt that is also the case on the other side of the arguments.

The only sensible purpose any of us can have is to contribute to a just peace.

2. Ken Kelso - August 30, 2014

Jerusalem has had a Jewish population majority since the late 1850s – that’s 130 years already, before ‘Palestinianism’ was invented:

Jews were expelled from East-Jerusalem by the Jordanian occupation at 1948. They lived in East-Jerusalem for thousands of years. They returned to their homes after Israel liberated the city in 67.Jerusalem was never in history the capitol of any Arab country. Jerusalem has been only the Capitol of Israel.

ISRAEL which is defending itself against Pan-Arabism, Arab imperialism and Arabization of the Middle East – that is the “problem AFP don’t like.

The real problem is global Arab/Moslem insistence to spread hate, violence, wars, terrorism, lies, false accusations against Jews and reducing Jews to subhumans or second class citizens – slaves or servants – without any human rights.

wmmbb - August 30, 2014

I will leave aside the notion that “Palestinians” were invented. The same could be said of Italians or the French.

Quoting Juan Cole:

Kemal Karpat wrote that according to the Ottoman Census of 1893, the population of most of what is now Palestine (excluding northern areas then attached to Beirut) was as follows:

371,959 Muslims

42,689 Christians

9,000 Jews

This does not count several thousand Bedouin Palestinians. It probably undercounts women, children and the poor among the Palestinian Muslims, as well as those young Muslim men who were dodging the draft. That is, likely the real figure was more like 500,000.

It also excludes thousands of Jews living in Jerusalem who had foreign citizenship because they came as retirees to the holy city, living on charitable trusts set up for the purpose of encouraging elderly Jews to study and worship there. Jews from the Russian Empire put special emphasis on this practice. That is why Jerusalem was said to be 50% Jewish. But note that Jerusalem was small then, and Jews were not so numerous elsewhere in Ottoman Palestine.

We might be sceptical about census data. For example, the 1940 US Census undercounted African Americans.

There contemporary (ie 1896) film of Jerusalem which refers to it as an Arab city:

3. Ken Kelso - August 30, 2014

Dr. Mordechai Kedar reveals: “Moslems fabricated myths to make Jerusalem holy for politics”.

wmmbb - August 30, 2014

Obviously, Dr Kedar has some rather unusual ideas in relation to deterrence of the perceived enemy.

4. Ken Kelso - August 30, 2014

In 2003, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah faction shot and killed a Palestinian named George Khoury as he was jogging in Jerusalem’s French Hill neighborhood.

Arafat, in a clear racist gesture, stated that this was a case of mistaken identity – because their victim turned out to be an Arab instead of a Jew.

wmmbb - August 30, 2014

Sharing a culture, including a religious identification does not constitute a race, if indeed that is a meaningful description. A Jewish person is by definition a person born into a Jewish culture, whether Orthodox, Reform or whatever. So who are the Jewish people?

5. wmmbb - August 30, 2014

Thanks for the comments Ken. They are of interest. I will look into the facts you have asserted. I will also listen to what Dr Kedar has to say.

The problem is to establish a just and sustainable peace. I think there are at least some ideas. Primarily to establish a peace with mutual recognition of rights and mechanisms to regulate the treaty. Both sets of people working together to restore the damage caused in Gaza. The 1948, given the special significance, was the recognition of Jerusalem as an international city, and so that might be looked at again.

Just at the moment,I have other things to do, but I will get back and address your specific comments, which I very much appreciate.

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