MEDIA RELEASE, 22 June 2017
South Australia gets on the right side of history
The South Australian Parliament today passed a landmark motion calling on the Australian Government to recognise the State of Palestine just as it recognises the State of Israel.
While State Governments have no direct influence in international affairs, the motion effectively acknowledges that Palestine has become one of the great moral issues of the twenty-first century and that failure to secure a just peace could result in a new apartheid state two decades after apartheid ended in South Africa.
Australian governments have long supported the idea of a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Internationally, however, awareness has grown that successive Israeli governments are fatally undermining the prospects for peace by relentlessly settling territory intended to form a Palestinian state. Last December outgoing US Secretary of State John Kerry sounded a dire warning on behalf of the Obama Administration that Israeli policy must change.
Currently, Palestine is recognised as a state by 138 states including, most recently, Sweden and the Vatican. The British and French parliaments have voted in support of recognition by their respective governments. Recognition of Palestine by the Australian Government is supported by 73% of Australians and, given that we already recognise Israel, would signal a more even-handed approach by Australia. It would also signal to the Government of Israel our commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state.
“We applaud the leadership shown by the South Australian House of Assembly in calling for the recognition of the State of Palestine,” said Mike Khizam, Executive Officer of the Australian Friends of Palestine Association in South Australia. “This is also a recognition of the right of the Palestinians to freedom and self-determination. Recognition enhances the prospects of peace in the Middle East. We call on other Australian State Parliaments to follow suit.”
For further comment, please contact:
Mike Khizam, m. (+61) 0478 598310
Professor Bassam Dally, m. (+61) 0410 617357
Australian Friends of Palestine Association, South Australia
Motion passed in South Australian House of Assembly, 22 June 2017:
That this House –
a) notes that the Australian Government is committed to a Two-State Solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict and that unless measures are taken this option will vanish;
b) affirms that the continuation of settlement building is in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and various resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, the most recent being Resolution 2334 (2016), and constitutes a major obstacle to peace;
c) believes that support for a Two-State Solution and for self-determination for both Israelis and Palestinians requires taking active measures by the international community;
calls on the Commonwealth Government to recognise the State of Palestine (as we have recognised the State of Israel) and announce the conditions and time lines to achieve such recognition.
Hansard record from the House of Assembly, South Australia Parliament, 22 June 2017
The Hon. A. PICCOLO (Member for Light, ALP) moves the Motion and speech >
Mr P. TRELOR (Member for Flinders, LIB) moves that the debate be adjourned; House is divided to vote; 'ayes' 14, 'noes' 18.
Ms V. CHAPMAN (Member for Bragg, Deputy Leader of the Opposition, LIB), and co-convenor of the Parliamentary Friends of Palestine - speech >
Ms K. HILDYARD (Member for Reynell, ALP) - speech >
Mr D. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Member for Stuart, LIB) - speech >
The Hon. T.R. KENYON (Member for Newland, ALP) - speech >
The Hon. A. PICCOLO (Member for Light, ALP) - speech >
See also Minutes of proceedings [pdf]
And later developments on this issue...
- Mike Khizam: South Australia Legislative Council vote wrongly supports business as usual for Israel over Palestine, 14 August 2017
- Eran Lerman: South Australian politicians have made right decision voting against unilateral recognition of Palestine, 11 August 2017
- Mike Khizam: Why South Australia Upper House must vote yes for State of Palestine, 28 July 2017
- Margaret Cassar: South Australia has overwhelming majority of Aussies behind it, 22 July 2017