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Australia’s disregard for international law

Jun 09,2014 - Last updated at Jun 09,2014

Australia is dangerously, and unprecedentedly, disregarding international law, including UN resolutions, by deciding to stop referring to East Jerusalem as occupied area.

Canberra’s attorney general justified his country’s dangerous change of course with the claim that describing East Jerusalem as an occupied city would be “judgemental language”.

This is preposterous. What gives this official, his country by extension, the right to use “judgemental language” when it removes an appellation enshrined in UN decisions?

What makes him think it is the case when talking about Jerusalem, but not when his country unilaterally decides to ignore international law?

Australia might need to be reminded that the UN, including the UN Security Council and the various specialised UN agencies, have long recognised that East Jerusalem is an occupied area captured by Israel in 1967.

How would Canberra explain UN Security Council Resolution 242 and the countless other international decisions calling on Israel to withdraw from all the territories occupied in 1967 in West Bank, including East Jerusalem?

Would the Australian government dare claim that this unequivocal UN position is “judgemental” and can be disregarded?

Maybe the Australian government has not heard of the 1947 UN resolution classifying not only East Jerusalem but the entire city of Jerusalem as an international territory.

How can any country, Australia included, view Israel’s illegal hold on Jerusalem by sheer force other than occupation?

The Australian government should do well to abide by the international decisions on Palestine, instead of hiding behind dubious, if not outright sinister, argumentations that aim to declassify the status of East Jerusalem as occupied area and, by so doing, undermine the basis of the peace process supported by the entire international community.

The country’s politicians should not volunteer to change their country’s stance on such a thorny issue to make personal, partisan or whatever gains or to appease lobbyists of any sort at the expense of justice.

Instead of taking sides that easily, they should try to support efforts aiming to find a peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict and to lend a helping hand to the Palestinian people living under Israeli occupation.

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