Opinion and Editorial

Compromising Australia’s national interests

Alikazak (Issues)
Filed on April 4, 2008

AUSTRALIAN Prime Minister Kevin Rudd did not wait long to walk in the footsteps of his conservative Liberal predecessor John Howard. In fact he tried to outdo all former Australian prime ministers in appeasing Israel and its extremist lobby in Australia.

Within his first 100 days in office, he moved an unprecedented motion in parliament congratulating Israel. The motion states that the House “celebrate and commend the achievements of the state of Israel in the 60 years since its inception” and remembers “with pride and honour” the important role Australia played in its establishment. Furthermore, it “acknowledges the unique relationship which exists between Australia and Israel: a bond highlighted by our commitment to the rights and liberty of our citizens and encouragement of cultural diversity”. It commended the state of Israel’s “commitment to democracy, the rule of law and pluralism” and expressed Australia’s commitment to the pursuit of peace and stability throughout the Middle East.

Mr Rudd was insensitive to the feelings of the Palestinian people and millions of refugees who are suffering in exile. Israel’s so-called 'Day of Independence' is the day of Al Naqba (catastrophe) for over nine million Palestinians, when 70 per cent of the Palestinian nation were ethnically-cleansed from their homeland through 35 massacres perpetrated by the Zionist terrorist organisations under the leadership of David Ben Gurion and Menachem Begin. The exercise turned the European Jewish minority into the majority and facilitated the establishment of Israel in 1948.

Mr Rudd’s rhetoric does not make clarify exactly what comprise Australian honour and pride in its relation with Israel. Is it the massacres, the ethnic-cleansing, the racial discrimination against non-Jews, its occupation and building of illegal Jewish colonies on confiscated Palestinian land, and the apartheid wall? Or is it its violations of international law and UN resolutions, the collective punishment and repression of the entire Palestinian nation and the denial of the refugees’ legitimate right to return to their homeland? Any honest Australian would say it is a shame and dishonour for Australia to associate itself with such a rogue state. And how can Australia have international respect and oppose other countries committing similar violations in international forums? This shows the double-standard and hypocrisy of Australia’s foreign policy.

It is immoral for anyone to support a state which has ethnically-cleansed 70 per cent of its population, turned them into a minority and refused their right to return on racial grounds, on the pretext that their return would make them a majority in their own homeland. How can such a state be democratic and committed to “the rule of law and pluralism”? This is not to mention its imprisonment of 51, out of 132, democratically elected members of parliament and ministers, among over 11,500 political prisoners out of a population of 3.5 million, in order to prevent the conduct of parliamentary democracy in Palestine.

While the motion expressed Australia’s support of a two-state solution, Mr Rudd’s ironic contradiction was revealed in his praise and appeasement of the very state which is violently preventing peace and stability in the Middle East and the establishment of the second state, Palestine, for the last 60 years.

Israel will remain the cause of problems for Australia and Western countries in the Middle East and beyond as long as they don’t hold Israel accountable, continue to put Israel above international law and close their eyes to its crimes and gross violations.

Furthermore, is Kevin Rudd from now on going to deliver a parliamentary motion to congratulate every country on its national day? If not, why not? And why is Israel special?

While politicians in government and opposition outbid each other in support of Israel to gain petty cash from Jewish businesses and the hardline pro-Israeli lobby, they damage Australia’s international reputation and national strategic interests. This is irresponsible, to say the least, and amounts to political corruption.

Mr Nelson began his speech in support of the motion by insulting all Arab countries and governments with which Australia has good diplomatic and commercial relations by disrespectfully describing them as theocratic and autocratic, while praising Israel.

The other dishonesty of both Rudd and Nelson was their linkage of the Holocaust to the establishment of Israel. This is not only a blatant lie but an historical deception and proof of their shameful ignorance of Zionism and the roots of Israel’s establishment. When political Zionism started in Europe in 1897 to establish a colonial Jewish settler state in Palestine, there was no Nazi party and Hitler was a child of 8 year. Racism and anti-Semitism must be fought and defeated wherever it is and not run away from and solved at the expense of someone else.

Australian politicians should not forget that Australia has a moral and historic duty towards the Palestinian people for its support of the establishment of Israel. Australia is expected to help the Palestinian people to return to their homeland and exercise their right to self-determination.

What will best serve Australia’s interest is its adoption of a consistent policy on human rights and international law; a policy against occupation and racial discrimination and not a policy of appeasement of such a pariah state.

The writer is former head of the general Palestinian delegation to Australia

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