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Labor party joins Abbott government in weak position on illegal settlements



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MEDIA RELEASE 18 June 2014

Labor party joins Abbott government in weak position on illegal settlements

Greens Leader Christine Milne has expressed disappointment at a likely split within the Labor party, on the use of the UN accepted term ‘Occupied Palestinian Territories’ for the illegal settlements built after 1967, which contravene the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The Labor party blocked a Greens-Xenophon motion calling on the Foreign Affairs Minister to publically acknowledge these facts.

“The refusal to acknowledge the settlements as illegal is a massive slap in the face to Palestine and the global community. It is an outrageous back down and hugely embarrassing for Australia,” Senator Milne said.

“It is also extremely disappointing that Labor has refused to take a strong stand despite decades of bipartisan support. The hard right of the Labor party has reared its ugly head.”

The motion blocked by Labor and the Abbott government was as follows:

*276 Leader of the Australian Greens (Senator Milne) and Senator Xenophon: To move—That the Senate— (a) notes that: (i) the use of the term ‗Occupied Palestinian Territories‘ is an internationally accepted term in use by the United Nations (UN), (ii) the International Court of Justice and the UN General Assembly have deemed East Jerusalem part of the West Bank and an occupied territory, (iii) Australia has historically supported UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict and the status of Jerusalem, (iv) the voting patterns of Australia in relation to the Israel-Palestine conflict have shifted dramatically under the Abbott Government, and (v) these shifts in the position of the Australian Government have caused diplomatic tensions with a number of countries, including the threat of potential sanctions; and (b) calls on the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Ms Bishop) to publicly acknowledge that: (i) the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are illegal and in breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention; and (ii) East Jerusalem is an occupied territory.