Sun. May 26th, 2024

Australia’s Push for a Two-State Solution in Israel-Palestine: Let’s Break It Down!

Jamie Roberts By Jamie Roberts May15,2024
Recognising Palestinian statehood is key to breaking the “endless cycle of violence” in the Middle East, Foreign Minister Penny Wong says.
Wong’s remark night came as she reiterated the federal government’s call for an Israel-Palestinian two-state solution — a position recognised in Labor’s national platform. The party, however, has not before suggested recognising a Palestinian state ahead of such a plan.
The comments echo those made by the United Kingdom’s foreign secretary David Cameron in February, when he argued that Palestinian statehood should come before a two-state solution is ratified.
They both said Gaza’s rulers, Hamas — which Australia and the UK both recognise as a terrorist group — must have no role in a future Palestinian state.
Hamas’ stated aim is to establish a Palestinian state and stop the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, which is considered illegal under international law, including the Geneva Conventions and international legal jurisprudence.
World leaders have publicly disagreed over the future of governance in the occupied Palestinian territories, but the possibility of a two-state solution continues to be raised as a possible way forward.

Here’s what you need to know.

What is the two-state solution, and does Australia support it?

The two-state solution calls for the land between Jordan and the Mediterranean to be divided into separate Israeli and Palestinian states, but it remains a contentious proposal.

Australia has not officially recognised a Palestinian state, but is committed to a two-state solution in which Israel and a future Palestinian state coexist with internationally recognised borders.

In a speech at the Australian National University’s National Security College ‘Securing Our Future’ conference, Wong said a two-state solution was “the only hope to break the endless cycle of violence”.
“The simple truth is that a secure and prosperous future for both Israelis and Palestinians will only come with a two-state solution,” she said.
“Recognition of each other’s right to exist. A Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel.”
She said Hamas would need to have no role in a future Palestinian state.

Opposition foreign affairs spokesperson Simon Birmingham said there was bipartisan support for a negotiated two-state solution.

But he said it needed to be negotiated and preconditioned on “security and a recognition and respect for the mutual right of each party to exist”.
He said a two-state solution could only be achieved after a period of security, and that Hamas would need to lay down its terrorist capabilities and release hostages.

“Then you can have a period of security and stability and that can then achieve the type of negotiating environment to secure an ultimate two-state solution or any other approach that can provide for long-term peace between Palestinian peoples and Israeli peoples.

How did the idea of the two-state solution come about?

The idea is inextricably linked to the in the Middle East.
The first significant two-state proposal came in 1937, in the report of a British royal commission, which recommended partitioning what was then the British Mandate of Palestine.

However, the first serious attempt to implement a partition came in 1947, when the British sought to hand over control of their territory to the newly formed United Nations.

Ian Parmeter, research scholar and Middle East Expert at the Australian National University’s Centre of Arab & Islamic Studies, explained how in 1947 the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution supporting the creation of two states.

“It would have been a Jewish state and an Arab state, the Jewish representatives accepted the state that they were offered, but the Arab representatives, the Palestinian representatives, didn’t because they said it was unfair,” he said.

Encouraged by their regional Middle Eastern allies, the Palestinians rejected the plans which would have seen them keep land in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem and in the north of the country, but ceding control of large areas of land which until then had been part of a Palestinian state.

That provoked Israel to wage its 1948 war of independence, which led to the formation of the Israeli state, as well as a mass exodus of Palestinian refugees into Gaza, the West Bank and the wider region.

Soldiers behind razor wire.

Israeli security forces have for years heavily restricted the movements of Palestinians. Source: Getty / Joel Carillet

In the Six-Day War of 1967, waged between Israel and a coalition of Arab states, Israel rapidly took total control of Gaza and the West Bank and started encouraging Israeli settlements, against Article 39 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, in those regions.

Israel rejects two-state solution

The Times of Israel has previously reported a spokesperson for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said there can be “no security and stability in the region” without a Palestinian state.
But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected the possibility of a two-state solution despite pressure from the international community, including the United States.

In January, he spoke to Washington directly when he said he objected to any Palestinian statehood that did not guarantee Israel’s security.

View of the West Bank separation barrier, a large wall, separating a section of land from a section of houses.

View of the West Bank separation barrier built by Israel in the Palestinian town of Al-Ram which lies northeast between Jerusalem and the Palestinian city of Ramallah in Israel. Source: Getty / Eddie Gerald

“In any future arrangement — settlement or no settlement — Israel needs security control over all territory west of the Jordan [River]. This is a necessary condition and it collides with the idea of sovereignty,” he said.

“I tell this truth to our American friends and I also stopped the attempt to impose a reality on us that would harm Israel’s security. The prime minister needs to be capable of saying no to our friends – saying no when necessary, and saying yes when possible.”
In his 2024 State of the Union address, US President Joe Biden said a two-state solution was the only option for security and democracy.
“As we look to the future, the only real solution to the situation is a two-state solution over time,” he said.

“And I say this as a lifelong supporter of Israel of Israel, my entire career. No one has a stronger record with Israel than I do… but there is no other path that guarantees Israel’s security and democracy.

Settlers in the West Bank

Settlements in Gaza have been dismantled, but have continued in the West Bank.

Parmeter said this stood in the way of a resolution, along with the unpopularity of the two-state solution in Israel, which is now the state recognised by most nations.

“The West Bank and Gaza would be the two areas where a Palestinian state would be formed, but to do that, you would have to remove the settlers from the West Bank, and it would be impossible for any government, any Israeli government at this stage to remove those settlers from that area.”

He said this was likely why Netanyahu, one of the solution’s loudest and most longstanding opponents, had doubled down on his position, in the face of plummeting approval ratings following the state of the conflict.

Jamie Roberts

By Jamie Roberts

Jamie is an award-winning investigative journalist with a focus on uncovering corruption and advocating for social justice. With over a decade of experience in the field, Jamie's work has been instrumental in bringing about positive change in various communities.

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2 thoughts on “Australia’s Push for a Two-State Solution in Israel-Palestine: Let’s Break It Down!”
  1. Does Australia fully support the two-state solution, or are there certain reservations or conditions attached to its stance on Israel-Palestine?

  2. I find it crucial that Australia recognizes Palestinian statehood as a step towards resolving the conflict in the region. Only by acknowledging both sides can we start to break the cycle of violence and work towards a peaceful two-state solution.

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