Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull must use his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to clarify that the Australian Government opposes the construction of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has arrived in Sydney, after meeting US President Donald Trump last week.
So far this year Israel has authorised more than 6,200 new illegal settlement homes in the occupied West Bank, including 719 in East Jerusalem.
“When meeting Prime Minister Netanyahu, Prime Minister Turnbull must make clear that his government will not tolerate the unlawful construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem. These settlements are a flagrant violation of international law and amount to a war crime,” said Steph Cousins, Advocacy and External Affairs Manager at Amnesty International Australia.
“Illegal settlements on Palestinian land have been a hallmark of Israel’s 50-year-long occupation. By continuing with its settlement policy Israel is also brazenly breaching multiple UN Security Council Resolutions, including the most recent resolution passed in December calling for an end to settlement activities in the Occupied West Bank.
“We were disappointed when Australia spoke out against last year’s UN Security Council Resolution, one of the only countries to do so,” Steph Cousins said.
However since then Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has expressed concern about the escalation of settlement expansion and called on both Israeli and Palestinian sides to “avoid unilateral actions that diminish the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution”.
“Now we urge Prime Minister Turnbull to seize this unique opportunity to demonstrate to Israel that it cannot continue trampling over the rights of the occupied Palestinian population”, said Steph Cousins.
Amnesty International has published a background briefing document for journalists highlighting the devastating impact that settlements continue to have on the lives of 2.9 million Palestinians in the West Bank including East Jerusalem.