26 Jul 2017
DANIEL WILLS | STATE POLITICAL EDITOR
SOUTH Australia’s Upper House is set to call for immediate moves to recognise a Palestinian state, amid a groundswell within Labor to soften its longstanding national support for Israel.
SA’s State Government last month become the first in the nation to formally back a separate nation, passing a Lower House motion that urged Canberra to give Palestine and Israel equal standing.
A recent outbreak of terrorist stabbings and car rammings in Israel have killed 50 people in the past two years, amid claims the Palestinian Authority is inciting its population to violence.
Labor and the Greens have now combined to push for the same motion to be passed in the Upper House, and are set to succeed with backing from two crossbench independents.
It comes amid moves from Labor state factions across the country to change the party’s national platform, despite lukewarm responses from senior figures, including federal leader Bill Shorten.
Nick Xenophon Team MP John Darley and the Dignity Party’s Kelly Vincent have both told The Advertiser they will support a motion in SA’s Upper House that “calls on the Commonwealth Government to recognise the state of Palestine, as we have recognised the state of Israel, and announce the conditions and time lines to achieve such recognition”.
Greens MP Tammy Franks said 130 nations across the world had already recognised Palestine, and the SA Parliament should “show support for an approach that is the peaceful solution”.
“When you’ve got former premiers and prime ministers on both sides of politics saying this, I think it is very much a mainstream position and the majority of Australians want this,” she said.
Opponents of recognition for Palestine say that no secure long-term peace can be achieved until its current leaders commit to ending violence and agree to a genuine two-state solution.
Australian Conservatives SA Leader Dennis Hood said State Parliament should not be dealing with “international matters” and the motion glossed over a history of Palestinian terrorism. “Israel is often subjected to the most wicked acts of terrorism,” he said.
Liberal MP Andrew McLachlan said Israel was “a vibrant democracy surrounded by autocratic and violent regimes” that “has a right to defend itself and its peoples from terrorism”.
Parliament resumes on Wednesday next week, but no date for a vote has been set.