From the blog

AUSTRALIA: Foreign Minister Hints On Canberra Recognising Palestinian State

Australia on Tuesday became the latest country to advocate formal recognition of a Palestinian state as a way of ending the ongoing Israel/Palestine war.

Penny Wong minister has suggested the country could recognise Palestinian statehood. However, Hamas could have no role in its governance.

Both Australia’s opposition and the Zionist Federation of Australia say such a move would be premature.

Canberra has long said that recognition of a Palestinian nation could only come as part of a two-state solution brokered with Israel.

Ms Wong’s comments echo a speech by UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron earlier this year, in which he hinted the UK too could recognise Palestinian statehood without the support of Israel.

And on Wednesday, Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez confirmed his government was already working towards recognition, arguing it was “in the geopolitical interest of Europe”. 

“The international community will not be able to help the Palestinian State if it does not recognise its existence,” he told lawmakers.

The Australian government has in recent months increasingly voiced concerns about the war against Hamas in Gaza – including after an Australian aid worker was killed alongside six others in an Israeli air strike. The aid workers were travelling in a convoy after picking up supplies when the IDF says they were wrongly identified as Hamas operatives and targeted.

In a speech on Tuesday night, Ms Wong said a two-state solution – where Israelis and Palestinians lived side by side in separate countries – was “the only hope to break the endless cycle of violence”.

“The failures of this approach by all parties over decades – as well as the Netanyahu government’s refusal to even engage on the question of a Palestinian state – have caused widespread frustration,” she said.

The opposition’s foreign affairs spokesman, Simon Birmingham, said it did not support such a move and that Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s government was threatening to “break decades of bipartisan Australian foreign policy”.

Zionist Federation of Australia president Jeremy Leibler said any talk of recognition of Palestinian statehood was “entirely premature”.

About 140 countries recognise Palestinian statehood, but many including the US, the UK, Germany and Australia do not.

The United Nations is this week set to consider granting Palestine – which is currently an “observer state” – full membership of the international body.

The war in Gaza, Israel’s response to a Hamas-led attack on 7 October that killed about 1,200 people and saw more than 250 taken hostage, has killed more than 33,000 Palestinians, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. Large parts of the territory are destroyed, and many other Palestinians have been left on the brink of famine.

Weeks of talks have failed to produce an agreement, but international pressure is growing.