Australia is only one of the two countries, the other being Marshall Islands opposing UN resolutions condemning Israeli annexations plans for parts of the West Bank. Australia this week voted against UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) five resolutions for Palestinian self determination, against Israeli settlements and settlers violence and on Israeli human-rights abuses in the Palestinian territories.
Australia’s position could not be more out of step with world opinion since Israel’s annexation move, following US President Donald Trump’s “peace” plan, that has been universally condemned.
Israel is planning to forcibly annex up to a third of the Palestinian West Bank including the strategic Jordan Valley any time soon.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Dr Michelle Bachelet warned on Monday 29 June the move to be illegal saying, “Annexation is illegal. Period. Any annexation. Whether it is 30 percent of the West Bank, or 5 percent,” urging Israel to “listen to its own former senior officials and generals, as well as to the multitude of voices around the world, warning it not to proceed along this dangerous path.”
This move been deplored globally as a grave violation of international law including over 250 leading international lawyers, and an unprecedented 50 independent UN experts, and by 1000 European parliamentarians.
“We have to stand firm and say ‘no’ to what Israel and America are doing in this area,” PLO Ambassador Ibrahim Khraishi told the Council. “It is flagrantly denying rights and flying in the face of international law.”
In an opinion piece written by Ben Saul, Challis Chair of International Law at the University of Sydney published in the Sydney Morning Herald on Thursday 25 June 2020, Australia has been urged to move away from this extreme anti-Palestine stance.
“The Morrison government must now unequivocally condemn annexation as an illegal threat to international security and human rights and prepare to impose hard-hitting sanctions. Annexation is indisputably contrary to international law,” Ben Saul writes.
He further adds, “Australia should warn Israel that it will impose sanctions if annexation proceeds. Sanctions targeted at the Israeli government and its leaders are appropriate.”
“Australia needs to stand up for the rules it says it believes in – not only against China or Russia, but also against “friends” such as Israel and the US,” he concludes.
Professor Emeritus, Stuart Rees OAM has called the annexation move as deceit passed off as politics and diplomacy.
“In response to Israel’s intention to annex up to 30% of the West Bank, respect for truth by all the parties involved, Israeli, Palestinian, US, European and Australian, has been replaced by calculations about the benefits of deceit.”
“Allowing Israeli impunity but denying this was happening has enabled any version of reality to be peddled. An international community has mouthed respect for human rights but ignored abuses, hence an amoral politics which teaches ‘do what you can get away with.”
ABC News reported on Thursday 24 June that New Israel Fund (NIFAustralia) tweeted regarding annexation plans, “This has been a dream of Israel’s far-right wing of the settler movement.”