Julie Bishop’s decision to side with the United States in voting against the UN SecurityCouncil Draft resolution on Israeli withdrawal from the Occupied Territories is another missed opportunity for Australia to support both Israel and Palestine, and contribute to resolving the decades old conflict.
Changing the dynamics of the festering conflict can only occur if the international community sees a role in treating the conflict as a problem needing a solution rather than an exercise in political manoeuvring.
It is clear to anyone with an interest in the conflict that internal Israeli politics has moved beyond the point that will allow Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate the establishment of Palestine without outside assistance.
In an imperfect world, the best hope lies in a UN Security Council resolution that is not opposed by the US or Australia, on setting a deadline for the withdrawal and linked issues. Such a high-level resolution that has both Israeli and Palestinian interests at heart will help both sides to resolve critical final status issues including long-standing Palestinian aspirations and Israeli  security needs – difficult and challenging as the compromises required will be.
To continue on the present course will, without question, lead to more violence, more deaths and more misery. Setting a deadline has the potential to change the climate of the conflict, circumventing Israeli political intransigence and giving hope to Palestinians and Israelis.
Change is desperately needed. Australia must play its part.
AJDS Executive
05/01/2015