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Wednesday, 25 March 2015
Page: 3418

Ms PARKE (Fremantle) (13:30): I would like to record my concern at the victory of Prime Minister Netanyahu and his Likud Party in Israel's recent elections, which appears to be attributable to extreme pre-election rhetoric and racism from Netanyahu, including statements that there will be no Palestinian state and there will be increased settlements and his warnings to beware 'Arabs voting in droves'.

This election outcome puts the Israeli leadership on a collision course with the United States, the EU and the 135 countries that already recognise Palestine as a state, and it does not augur well for Israel's own future. The White House Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough, said:

We cannot simply pretend that these comments were never made …

The headlines yesterday from one of Israel's main English language newspapers, Haaretz, say it all: 'On the unavoidable path to Israel's nightmarish future', 'Netanyahu's successful campaign may prove destructive for Israel' and 'Israel chooses the path to apartheid'.

Israel's freezing of 60 per cent of Palestinian tax revenue for more than three months has been condemned by the UN, the US and Israel's President and, according to the US Department of State, could lead to the collapse of the Palestinian Authority. To my knowledge, there has been no comment from Australia. A UN Security Council resolution in December last year to set a deadline to end Israel's decades-long occupation of Palestinian territories was opposed only by two countries: Australia and the US.

Given the failure of US sponsored peace talks, it is essential that Palestinians now have access to international bodies to assist in ending the occupation, the Gaza blockade and the illegal settlement building. It is now time for the Australian government to show genuine support for the two-state solution and recognise the state of Palestine.