Australia's FM hints support for alternative to two states

Australia’s Foreign Minister: We support “two-state solution” but the world should recognize “one-state solution” if both sides agree.

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Ben Ariel,

Julie Bishop
Julie Bishop
Reuters

Australia’s Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, on Thursday said her country supports a “two-state solution” for the Israeli-Arab conflict, but added that the world should recognize a “one-state solution” if the two sides agree to that.

“If they can come up with another solution that they were prepared to live with that ensured that the Israelis and the Palestinians could live side by side, live together behind internationally recognized boundaries then of course the world should support that,” Bishop told Australia’s Sky News.

“What we need is for the Palestinians to recognize that the state of Israel exists and will continue to exist,” she added.

The comments follow U.S. President Donald Trump’s comments on Wednesday at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in which he would not commit to the two-state solution as the only way to solve the conflict.

"I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I'm very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one," Trump said.

Despite Bishop’s comments, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull later on Thursday reaffirmed Australia's support for a two state-solution.

“Our position has not changed there should be a two state solution negotiated with Israel and the Palestinian Authority,” Turnbull told Sky News, calling for a “two-state solution that will secure the interest and the security of both peoples.”

Turnbull would not comment directly on President Trump's comments, saying he does not “run a commentary” on American politics.

Bishop herself later reaffirmed Australia's commitment to the two-state solution, saying in a statement her country’s position had been consistent and encouraged "both Israel and the Palestinian Authority to negotiate an outcome that would see Israelis and Palestinians living side by side, within internationally recognized borders, in a peaceful and stable environment."

Australia’s government has reiterated support for Israel in recent months. In December, after the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2334 which condemned Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria, Bishop said her country would not have voted for the Israel resolution had it been a member of the Security Council.