By Syed Atiq ul Hassan, Sydney Australia

Syed Atiq ul Hassan

The recent statement by Penny Wong, the Australian Foreign Minister, at the National Security Conference organized by the Australian National University, may surprise many both within and outside of Australia. Wong stated, “A two-state solution is the only hope to break the endless cycle of violence.” This political stance could be instrumental in addressing the decades-long conflict between Israel and Palestine. However, before advocating for a two-state solution, Australia must first recognize the state of Palestine.

In recent international developments regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict, three European countries—Norway, Spain, and Ireland—have recognized the state of Palestine, with expectations that more countries will follow suit. The recognition of Palestine by individual nations is a response to the seven-decade-long failure to find an acceptable solution for Palestinian independence through the United Nations and other global powers.

The Australian Labor Party National Platform, as outlined at the 49th National Conference (2023), defines the Australian Labor government’s policy on Israel and Palestine (page 132). This policy states:

  1. Support for the recognition and right of Israel and Palestine to exist as two states within secure and recognized borders.
  2. Calls on the Australian Government to recognize Palestine as a state, and
  • Emphasizes that this issue should be a priority for the Australian Government.

Thus, it is a political commitment for the current Labor government to act on its agenda set forth at the 2023 National Conference. Penny Wong remains hopeful that the world will eventually agree on a two-state solution. She noted that recently, British Foreign Minister David Cameron stated that Britain is seriously considering recognizing the state of Palestine and supporting the two-state solution, potentially raising this position at the United Nations. Wong countered the misconception that recognizing Palestine equates to recognizing an enemy, emphasizing that this perspective is misguided.

Historically, Australia played a key role in the establishment of Israel in the early 20th century. As a loyal member of the British Empire, the Australian Army was an ally in the war against the Ottoman Empire during World War I. The 1917 Light Horse Brigade charge in Beersheba and the Allied occupation of Damascus in 1918 are milestones in both Australian and Israeli history. From World War I to the present, Australia’s policy on Israel has aligned with those of the United States and Great Britain. Australia was the first country to vote in favour of the 1947 UN Partition Plan, which led to the creation of Israel, and it was among the first to officially recognize Israel in 1948.

If Australia now intends to recognize Palestine to support a two-state solution, this shift should be welcomed by global peacemakers. The relentless violence in Palestinian territories by Israeli forces has shocked the international community, with images of casualties, including children, women, and men, galvanizing support for Palestine.

The United States is the largest military and financial supporter of Israel, yet significant protests advocating for “Free Palestine” occur in US cities, colleges, and universities. Similar protests are seen in the UK, Australia, Canada, and across Europe. The powerful voices in these nations are pressuring their governments to reconsider their policies on Israel and seek a just solution for the Palestinians.

The reality of modern-day technology means that people worldwide are continually exposed to live broadcasts of the conflict, which has heightened the urgency for a resolution. The international community now demands an end to the inhuman acts of brutality and a peaceful solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Powerful nations must acknowledge that the long-standing Israel-Palestine conflict has cost countless lives, driven by the vested interests of powerful countries and the Zionist lobby. The solution is complex, as many Muslim nations do not accept a two-state solution, and Israel also remains opposed. However, the United Nations, the US, the UK, and other influential countries must work towards an impartial decision that both sides can accept to prevent a potential large-scale conflict.

If the two-state solution is the only viable option, then powerful nations and Israel’s supporters must persuade Israel, Palestinian leaderships, including Hamas, and Muslim countries to agree. Otherwise, resistance could escalate into a large-scale war between the supporters of Israel and Palestine.

Notably, thirty countries, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, and several Arab nations, do not recognize Israel. They seek an independent Palestine encompassing all of the current Palestinian territories, which seems unrealistic today. Therefore, all parties must show flexibility for the sake of peace.

Support for Israel is waning globally, even in historically supportive nations like Ireland and South Africa. The International Court of Justice has ruled against Israel by 13 to 2 votes, demanding an immediate halt to actions against Palestinians.

Ultimately, the power to enforce peace lies with influential countries, which must pressure Israel and its allies to cease hostilities and pursue a two-state solution. (The writer is a Sydney-based journalist, political analyst, writer, and Editor, Tribune International, Australia. His email is ).

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