GEORGE BROWNING Former Middle East diplomats urge PM to reject Trump Middle East plan.

In response to the Kushner announcement about an economic plan for Palestine, 18 former Australian diplomats have written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison calling on him not to support the plan. The signatories include two former Australian Ambassadors to Israel and many Ambassadors to other Middle Eastern countries.

“Australia is a respected player in the region and we have a responsibility to pave the way to genuine peace, rather than further cement the occupation,”said Dr Anthony Billingsley, Senior Lecturer, International Relations, University of NSW, and one of the signatories. “Australia must only support solutions that have been negotiated with all parties and provide a fair deal for both Palestinians and Israelis – this plan does neither”.

The diplomats jointly warn against Trump’s partisanship, which goes against the grain of the international community, and damages any prospects for real peace.

Excerpts from the letter include:

Under President Trump, the United States appears to have decided to turn away from its longstanding goal of achieving a two-state solution, an approach that Australia and the great majority of the international community have supported for the past 25 years.

What is now obvious to us all – is that Israel simply has not been prepared to entertain the notion of the existence of a viable independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.

For our own reputation and in recognition of our national interests, Australia should not support a United States initiative which excludes the Palestinians and blatantly excuses Israel from an eventual requirement to make the compromises necessary for peace.

Last week, the partisan relationship between the US and Israel was highlighted once again as Prime Minister Netanyahu paid tribute to the American President by naming an illegal settlement in the occupied Golan Heights after him.

For further information :

Jessica Morrison          0431 519 577          [email protected]

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George Browning is president of the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN) and a retired Anglican Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn.

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