SPEECH: ALP NATIONAL CONFERENCE - CONFERENCE CALLS ON LABOR TO RECOGNISE THE STATE OF PALESTINE
SPEECH: ALP NATIONAL CONFERENCE – CONFERENCE CALLS ON LABOR TO RECOGNISE THE STATE OF PALESTINE
TUESDAY, 18 DECEMBER 2018
ADELAIDE CONVENTION CENTRE, ADELAIDE SA
**CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY**
As Penny said, this resolution is the product of many more people than Penny and myself. I want to specifically acknowledge the consultation with Richard Marles and long standing work of Wendy Turner.
In previous conferences we have had resolutions that went forever. Every possible view and recent event would find its way into the preamble and we could all find some words somewhere that we could agree with. Today we haven’t done that. We’re simply noting all those resolutions and the views we have previously expressed.
We note them because we haven’t resiled from our commitment to security. Both Israelis and Palestinians have a right to be safe.
Today’s resolution focuses on one issue. On recognition.
Bill Shorten and Penny Wong have put the very reasonable case that recognition, the form of recognition and the precise timing of recognition should be a cabinet decision. We have seen the debacle of Scott Morrison with respect to Jerusalem where decisions were taken and announcements made without a proper cabinet process, ignoring our agencies and blindsiding the region and our allies.
It’s another example of the difference between the failed advertising guy looking for a new slogan and a team that is ready to serve as a Shorten Labor Government.
But acknowledging that the decision should be made by cabinet does not take away the right or responsibility of this conference to provide its view. And the view of the conference will be clear if this is carried: we are calling on the next Labor government to recognise the state of Palestine.
Recognition is the normal approach for Australia. Across the world there are governments we believe are poor at governance but we recognise them. There are governments we believe are responsible for human rights atrocities, we still recognise them. There are governments where we believe they are pursuing objectives that are hostile to our national interest and yet for all these countries we still recognise them as states.
We held off recognising Palestine partly because it was one of the issues to be resolved in the final negotiation. But in recent years, particularly with the growth of settlements we have seen the balance of those negotiations shift. I suspect this room is full of more negotiators than any other part of our country. People in this room understand the implications of a bargaining table, where one side of the bargaining table disproportionately already has most of what they want
No one today can see the momentum that seemed imminent in the days of Rabin, Arafat and Bill Clinton. Some of us have always believed a resolution like this was required but many people like Bob Hawke, Gareth Evans and Kevin Rudd have changed their views over time. But whether that view has changed because of comments and policies from Benjamin Netanyahu himself, or the fact that two thirds of his cabinet are on record saying there will never be a Palestinian state, whether it be because the settlements driving a wedge between Bethlehem and Ramallah all the way to Jericho, whether it be the military courts, the home demolitions, the restrictions on water, or that we are now looking at what is currently the longest military occupation, we have reached the point where the arguments to wait have become thinner, and the arguments for recognition have become stronger.
This resolution is not anti-Israel. Since 1948 this country and this party has recognised and supported the people of Israel having a land of their own. Today we say the Palestinians also deserve a land of their own.
At each of our state and territory conferences there have been resolutions calling for this. None of them are a rejection of Israel. But they are a rejection of some of the hard-liners who believe that the occupation of another people can be permanent. It is a rejection of the largely US and Russian armed settlers who have moved to places like Hebron wanting the local community to live in fear.
Labor has always believed in a two state solution. Today conference calls on the next Labor Government to recognise both of them. Two states. Side by side. Both secure. Israel and Palestine.