Forget about Australia moving its Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Veiled Malaysian suggestions of terrorist attacks on Australian targets if the Embassy is moved coupled with Indonesian threats to not sign a free trade agreement with Australia - will suffice to burst Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s thought-bubble.
Australia gave Indonesia $360 million in aid in 2016 and was the world’s 16th largest donor in giving $15 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
Indonesia gave UNRWA $5000 in 2016 – whilst Malaysia gave nothing.
Indonesia and Malaysia – two Islamic states – flex their muscles on Islamic claims to Jerusalem - yet pathetically fail to financially support their Islamic brethren.
Morrison first flagged the Embassy move on 16 October at a joint press conference with Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne:
“Now, in relation to our diplomatic presence in Israel. What I have simply said is this - we're committed to a two-state solution. Australia's position on this issue has to date assumed that it is not possible to consider the question of the recognition of Israel's capital in Jerusalem and that be consistent with pursuing a two-state solution.
"Now, Dave Sharma, who was the Ambassador to Israel, has proposed some months ago a way forward that challenges that thinking and it says that you can achieve both and indeed by pursuing both, you are actually aiding the cause for a two state solution. Now, when people say sensible things, I think it is important to listen to them”
Australia’s commitment to the two-state solution – the creation of a second Arab state – in addition to Jordan - in the territory that comprised the 1922 Mandate for Palestine - is based on:
- The 1993 Oslo Accords and
- The 2002 President Bush Roadmap
Intensive negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation spanning the last 25 years have failed to achieve this two-state solution – being unable to agree on whether the new State should:
- Be demilitarised
- Include all the territory of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) with East Jerusalem as its capital
- Exclude all Jews currently living there necessitating their resettlement in Israel.
Australia is not alone in clinging to this outdated two-state solution. Countless UN Resolutions consuming reams of paper dominate meetings of UN committees, the General Assembly and the Security Council promoting this failed solution – rather than considering alternative solutions to ending the Jewish-Arab conflict.
Morrison probably did not realise how close he was to committing Australia to a very different two-state solution when he told the press conference:
“The whole point of a two-state solution is two nations recognised living side by side. And so, opening up that discussion does provide us with the opportunity, I think, to do what Australians have always done and that is to apply a practical and common-sense and innovative role in trying to work with partners around the world to aid our broader objectives, in this case a two-state solution.”
That alternative two-state solution involves Jordan and Israel – the two successor states to the Mandate for Palestine - currently exercising sovereignty in 95% of the territory comprised in the Mandate - negotiating the allocation of sovereignty in the last remaining 5% between their two respective States.
This solution was first suggested by the League of Nations in 1922: one Jewish State and one Arab state in former Palestine. Redrawing the international border between Jordan and Israel in direct negotiations under article 3 of the existing 1994 Jordan-Israel peace treaty would complete this alternative two-state solution.
Moving Australia’s Embassy to Jerusalem would be a no-brainer after successfully concluding the 1922 two-state solution.
Author’s note: The cartoon – commissioned exclusively for this article—is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators – whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades. His cartoons can be viewed at Drybonesblog