Why we backed UN move

  • Opinion

Israelis and Palestinians have both paid the price of a conflict that has spanned our lifetimes. And many countries are increasingly frustrated at the lack of progress.

Australians know we're not central to this conflict but they want us to play our part in international efforts towards peace.

Early on Saturday morning, the overwhelming majority of the international community - some 143 countries, including Australia - voted in favour of a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly. It enabled more Palestinian participation at the UN.

I want to explain why Australia voted this way.

First, let's be clear about what this resolution actually does. The resolution maintained the Palestinians' observer status with modest additional rights to participate in UN forums.

And it expressed the UNGA's aspiration for eventual Palestinian membership, which first must be endorsed by the UN Security Council.

Critically, it reaffirmed “unwavering support for the two-state solution of Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security within recognised borders.”

This is a clear rejection of the goals and methods of Hamas. A two-state solution - Israel and Palestine - is the opposite of what Hamas wants. Hamas does not want peace.

We condemn Hamas as a terrorist organisation, and we call for the immediate release of all hostages. The world - and governments both Labor and Liberal - have long agreed that a secure and prosperous future for both Israelis and Palestinians will only come with a two-state solution - a Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel.

This vote signals that the world wants to build momentum to achieving this two-state solution.

Much of our region and many of our partners also voted yes, including our ally New Zealand, our special strategic partner Japan, and our comprehensive strategic partners India, Indonesia, Singapore and South Korea.

This shows the commitment from so many of us to be part of a co-ordinated effort for lasting peace.

This opinion piece was originally published in the Sunday Mail on 12 May 2024.

Media enquiries

  • Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555