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Wednesday, 4 December 2013
Page: 1571


Ms PARKE (Fremantle) (13:46): It is a matter of enormous concern that the Australian government has recently, without notice to the Australian community, changed our country's voting position in the UN General Assembly on resolutions relating to the illegality under international law of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the applicability of the Geneva conventions.

Israel does not accept that the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits such population transfers by occupying powers, applies to the Palestinian territory it occupies. However, this view is overwhelmingly contradicted by the international community, including the International Court of Justice, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly and the high contracting parties to the Geneva conventions. Even Israel's closest ally, the United States, regards the settlements as illegitimate, while closer to home some of our near neighbours, including Indonesia and Malaysia, see the settlements as a great injustice.

I speak on behalf of many concerned Australian citizens in calling upon the government, when this matter comes again before the UN General Assembly next week, to respect the international rule of law and the government's own professed support for a two-state solution—a solution that is undermined and rendered increasingly unlikely by continued illegal Israeli settlement building on Palestinian land. At a time when Australia has a seat on the UN Security Council and the presidency of the G20, it behoves us to respect and promote international law and human rights.