Left-Wing Australian Government Turns on Israel: Calls West Bank Settlements ‘Illegal’

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

Australia’s left-wing Labor government on Tuesday declared Israel’s presence on the West Bank as “illegal settlements in the occupied territories” in a reversal of support for the Jewish state.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong said Canberra was looking to “strengthen the government’s objection to settlements by affirming that they are illegal under international law and a significant obstacle to peace.”

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong stands with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at the door of their plane on May 23, 2022 in Canberra, Australia. (David Gray/Getty Images)

ABC News reports Senator Wong told colleagues the government would claim the settlements were illegal and return to the position of “Occupied Palestinian Territories” in the future, outlining:

In adopting the term, we are clarifying that the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Gaza, were occupied by Israel following the 1967 War, and that the occupation continues.

Opposition Liberal MP Julian Lesser slammed the alteration in language.

“This decision will not help a two-state solution on the ground, it will only embolden and please organisations that we in this country have listed as terrorist organisations, like Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” he said.

“It will not encourage people to the table and is off kilter with where Israel is going with its Arab neighbours since the Abraham Accords.”

Leeser, who is Jewish, said Australians needed to look at the timing of the announcement, which has been made ahead of the Australian National Labor Party Conference.

“I think this sends a bad message not just to Israel but to any of our allies around the world,” he said, per the ABC report.

“That Australian foreign policy is subject, while this government is in power, to the whim of the faction bosses within the Labor movement who are controlling their national conference.

“This is about a weak prime minister, a weak foreign minister unable to stare down their own people.”

Lesser said he did not accept that the settlements in the West Bank were illegal.

Australia’s announcement follows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu firing back at UK Sky News in June, stating Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) are part of the Jewish “ancestral homeland.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has consistently defended Israel against accusations it is violating international law regarding the presence of Jews residing in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank). (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

He said Jews have been attached for 3,000 years and the notion of banning Jews from settling in those areas is the true “obstacle to peace,” after the British news outlet attempted to depict the territories as “occupied” lands.

Netanyahu previously defended Israel against accusations it was violating international law regarding the presence of Jews residing in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), as Breitbart News reported.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump also made public his support for Israel in the West Bank, saying the settlements are not illegal under international law.

Follow Simon Kent on Twitter: or e-mail to: skent@breitbart.com


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