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Wednesday, 28 October 2009
Page: 11461

Ms Julie Bishop asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in writing, on 15 September 2009:

(1)   Can he indicate the Government’s position in relation to Israeli settlement construction activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

(2)   Has the Government expressed its view to the (a) United States, (b) Israel, and (c) Palestinian authority, in response to President Barack Obama’s call for a halt to all construction; if so, what was expressed.

Mr Stephen Smith (Minister for Foreign Affairs) —The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

(1)   The Government’s position is that Israel needs to freeze all settlement activity.  This is one of Israel’s obligations under the Roadmap for Middle East peace.  The Government believes it is important that the parties, with the support of the international community, honour the agreements they have entered into as part of the Roadmap.  This means the Palestinians must also honour their agreements, including continuing to dismantle terrorist infrastructure and to halt violence and incitement. The Government’s position on settlements is guided by Australia’s strong support for Israel’s ongoing security, the Middle East peace process and a two-state solution, and the striving for a just and enduring peace.

(2)   The Government position on settlements has been stated publicly and in discussions with the parties to the peace process.