Home » Recognition of Palestinian statehood is ‘only hope’ to end violence, Penny Wong says

Recognition of Palestinian statehood is ‘only hope’ to end violence, Penny Wong says

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In a significant shift in the government’s position, Foreign Minister Penny Wong says recognising the existence of a Palestinian state might be the only path to peace in the Middle East.
Ms Wong has also reiterated the federal government’s approval of a two-state solution to ensure peace and the long-term safety of local residents.
Australia is one of about 50 members* of the United Nations – along with the US and the UK – that has not officially recognised Palestinian statehood.
Israel has repeatedly stated its opposed to such recognition, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying that anyone who does so, would essentially be rewarding acts of terrorism.
But Ms Wong says a two-state solution also benefits Israel.
“There are always those who claim recognition is rewarding an enemy. This is wrong because Israel’s own security depends on a two-state solution. Recognising a Palestinian state – one that can only exist side-by-side with a secure Israel – doesn’t just offer the Palestinian people an opportunity to realise their aspirations, it also strengthens the forces for peace; and it undermines extremism.”
The Opposition has criticised the statements made by Ms Wong.
Opposition spokesman on foreign affairs, Simon Birmingham says such a move could be seen as a win for Hamas.
Ms Wong says the government has not decided to officially recognise the Palestinian state at this stage, saying her earlier remarks were about finding a long-term solution for the conflict.
“Look, we’ve made no such decision. The discussion I want to have is to look at what is happening in the international community where there is the very important debate about how it is we secure long lasting peace in a region which has known so much conflict. Obviously we have the immediate conflict. We need to see Hamas release hostages. We need to see a revitalised Palestinian Authority. We need to see an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. We need all of these things immediately. But the point that I’m making is that ultimately peace, security for Israel, will only be achieved if we have a Palestinian state alongside the Israeli state.”
It comes as the discussions for a ceasefire in Gaza continue in Cairo, with the U-S sending the head of the C-I-A, William Burns, to the Egyptian capital to lead the negotiations.
Hamas continues to stick to its demands of a full withdrawal by the Israeli Defence Forces from Gaza, while also allowing displaced Palestinians to return to northern parts of the region.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the negotiations between all sides are continuing.
“We are committed to ensuring that Hamas cannot govern or dictate the future of Gaza or anything else, for that matter, but how Israel conducts any further operations in Gaza matters a great deal. And as we’ve said, we’re talking to them about alternatives and, in our judgment, effective ways at solving a problem that needs to be solved, but doing it in a way that does not endanger the innocent. Those conversations are ongoing. My expectation is that we’ll see Israeli colleagues again next week to to pursue that.”
Meanwhile, Israel has reiterated its intent to carry through with its military operation in Rafah, in Gaza’s south.
During his address to new military recruits, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the date has been set for the Israeli offensive, without revealing that date.
“We will complete the elimination of Hamas brigades, including in Rafah. There is no force in the world that will stop us. There are many forces that are trying to do so, but it will not help, since this enemy, after what it did, will never do it again. It will also not be.”
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan says US officials are not aware of any specific date for the launch of the Israeli operation in Rafah.
He has repeated the U-S’s objections against this course of action.
“If he has a date, he hasn’t shared it with us. So I’ve seen his public comments, but I have nothing more on that front. I’m not going to comment on hypotheticals, but I will state here what I stated the last time I stood at this podium, which is that the United States does not believe that a massive ground invasion of Rafah, where 1.3 or more million people are sheltering, having been pushed out of other parts of Gaza that are now destroyed into the area where humanitarian assistance comes in, this is not the best way forward.”
The Israeli government is facing increasing pressure from its own citizens to come to an agreement which will see the return of the remaining hostages held by Hamas.
It’s believed that about 130 hostages are still under the military group’s captivity, although 30 of them are considered to be dead.
A number of the hostages’ relatives protested outside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office during a war cabinet meeting.
Moran Aharoni says the group gathered to ensure the government follows through on a promise to secure the release of their loved ones.
“I’m here because we are being told that we are very close to a hostage deal and there is a pressure from extreme sides in the government and out to postpone it, and for the hostages – which are our brothers, sisters, mothers, sons and also babies… this will be, basically an execution, and we will not stand for that. They have to come home.”
US Vice President Kamala Harris has held a meeting with relatives of the U-S citizens who are also among the hostages taken by Hamas.
This woman, going by her first name Rachel, says the discussion was highly productive.
“We have just come out of a very productive meeting with Vice President Harris, who carved out time to meet with us hostage families. We’re very grateful for that. We discussed a lot of different things. And one of the things we talked about is that there is a possibility of holding two truths. You can believe, as we do, that it is horrible that innocent civilians in Gaza are suffering. And at the same time, you can also know that it is horrible and against international law for hostages to be held against their will. We are six months in on day 186.”
Germany is facing accusations of aiding Israel in the genocide of the Palestinian people.
In a case launched in the International Court of Justice by Nicaragua, the European nation has been accused of providing arms to Israel that helped aid in the deaths of thousands of Palestinians.
Germany is one of Israel’s biggest weapons suppliers, with data from the Economy Ministry showing they provided them with weapons and equipment worth almost A$600 million in 2023.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock says they support Israel’s right to defend itself.

“We have made it clear from the outset that we are committed to international law. This includes the right of self-defense of every state. This means that Israel has the right to defend itself, like every country in the world, against these terrorist attacks that continue to be carried out with the aim of destroying Israel as a state.”