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Australia’s Parliament Rejects Recognition of Palestinian Statehood

Sydney: Australia’s federal parliament has voted against recognizing Palestine as an independent state, with the majority of representatives opposing the motion put forward by the Greens.

The motion, spearheaded by the Greens, aimed to introduce debate on recognizing Palestinian statehood in the House of Representatives. However, parliament decisively voted against the motion, with 80 votes against and only five in favor.

Voting Results in the House of Representatives:

  • Yes: Only 5 representatives supported the motion, including members of the Australian Greens and Independent Andrew Wilkie.
  • No: 80 representatives from the Labor government, as well as the Liberal and National parties, rejected the proposal.

Greens leader Adam Bandt asserted that recognizing Palestinian statehood would have represented a tangible stride towards peace, especially in light of recent acknowledgments of Palestine by other nations. Bandt emphasized that Australia held a moral obligation to extend recognition to Palestine, advocating for equality in peace, security, and self-determination for both Palestinians and Israelis.

Contrarily, Assistant Foreign Minister Tim Watts accused the Greens of orchestrating the motion’s failure, alleging that it was a ploy for political leverage. Watts maintained that the path to peace should prioritize substantive efforts to end violence and foster lasting peace.

Reflecting similar sentiments, Liberal MP Julian Leeser criticized the timing and nature of the motion, asserting that it would neither alter the Middle Eastern landscape nor contribute to social cohesion within Australia.

The parliamentary debate unfolded amid escalating Israeli violence in Rafah, particularly following multiple Israeli strikes in the west of Rafah targeting tent camps designated “safe zones”, that claimed the lives of 21 displaced Palestinians, including 13 women and girls who were sheltering there. Earlier, Israeli airstrikes on the Tal as-Sultan camp killed approximately 45 Palestinians in the tent camp at Rafah, designated as a safe zone, with many of the victims being women and children. The camp was housing numerous displaced families seeking refuge from the ongoing conflict.

This decision comes despite Australia being among the 143 countries that supported Palestine’s bid for full UN membership in the UN General Assembly earlier this month.

While some nations have announced their recognition of the State of Palestine this year, including Ireland, Norway, Spain, Barbados, the Bahamas, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago, Australia has chosen to maintain its stance against recognition at this time.

It is worth noting that relentless Israeli attacks in Gaza have killed 36,615 Palestinians and wounded 81,136 others in Gaza since October 7 of last year. The relentless air and ground attacks have left the enclave in ruins, triggering mass internal displacement and severe shortages of essential supplies.

France Not Recognizing Palestinian Statehood at Present, Wating for “Useful Moment:

On Tuesday, the French president expressed his readiness to recognize Palestinian statehood, but at a “useful moment”.

“There are no taboos for France, and I am totally ready to recognize a Palestinian state … I think this recognition must be at a useful moment,” Emmanuel Macron stated during a joint press briefing with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Germany.

He underscored the necessity for a political process to yield a tangible outcome and added, “I will not do an emotional recognition”.

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