Controversy has erupted over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming state visit to Australia, with a number of influential Aussies including members of the legal fraternity, clergy and former politicians opposing the trip.

Netanyahu is due to touch down in Australia this week for meetings with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and opposition leader Bill Shorten. It will mark the first official visit of a serving Israeli Prime Minister to Australia.

But an open letter signed by numerous high-profile Australians opposes Netanyahu’s visit because of his administration’s policies towards Palestinians.

Among the signatories are former ACT chief minister Jon Stanhope and ex-federal Labor parliamentarians Melissa Park, Laurie Ferguson, Alan Griffin and Jill Hall. It also includes the former solicitor general Gavan Griffith, lawyer Julian Burnside and businesswoman Janet Holmes à Court.

“We strongly oppose the official visit to Australia of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,” they write in the letter.

“The Australian Government needs to rethink its one-sided support for the Israeli Government.

“Israel continues to defy all United Nations calls for it to comply with international law in respect of its illegal settlement building, and its treatment of the indigenous Palestinian population.”

Read the full article by Sam McKeith at the Huffington Post.

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