The Greens and Israel

Pre-election polling and analysis suggests the Australian Greens party is likely to pick up one or more lower house seats this election – on top of retaining the seat of Melbourne. This gives it the potential to not only hold the balance of power in the Senate, but if a hung parliament results from this election, also determine who forms government – with very significant leverage over the minority government thus formed.

It is therefore worth reviewing the Greens’ official position and record on Israeli-Palestinian issues.

The Greens national policy on “Israel/Palestine” is anchored in a core resolution last updated in March 2010. The Greens policy does explicitly support a two-state peace outcome between Israel and the Palestinians, although there are caveats.

However, more controversially, anchored in this resolution is the Greens demand for the Australian government “to halt military cooperation and military trade with Israel.”

One of the key principles spelled out in the Greens resolution is to “recognise the ongoing injustice that has been done to the Palestinian people and aim to rectify that injustice in a way that will allow both Palestinians and Israelis to live in peace”.

In other words, according to the Greens’ principles and goals, Israel is the sole aggressor and must own up to it, make amends to the Palestinians and satisfy all “just and practical” Palestinian demands in order to be granted the right to live in peace. The Palestinians are not expected to do anything for peace.

The resolution also hints at a UN-imposed settlement that would leave the Israelis and Palestinians with little else to do than implement the deal under a set timetable.

It calls for “the establishment of an international commission under the auspices of the UN to effect a settlement of the conflict” and only then “peace negotiations facilitated by the commission leading to a schedule for the implementation of all the goals.”

It also calls for the deployment of “international” forces to protect Palestinians.

The Greens resolution calls for the “immediate end to all acts of violence against civilian populations” and includes (Palestinian) suicide bombings as one example. However, in practice, the Greens have never issued a condemnation of an act of Palestinian violence or terrorism on its own. In contrast, Greens Foreign Policy spokesman Sen. Scott Ludlam has made six statements on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since July 2015, all of them including condemnations of Israel. Among Ludlam’s statements have been baseless and inflammatory accusations copying Palestinian propaganda, such as his false claim in October 2015 that “Israeli military forces have repeatedly stormed the holy site of the Al-Aqsa mosque.”

All Greens members of parliament also signed the strongly anti-Israel 2014 Canberra Declaration on Gaza.

Subsequent resolutions

Since the last national election, the Greens have passed two further resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian issue augmenting the 2010 policy.

In July 2014, amidst fighting between Israel and Hamas, the Greens National Council passed a resolution accusing Israel of waging war against civilians by putting “the might of its military force against the Palestinian people… this has not been proportionate to the Hamas rocket attacks.”

In a first, the resolution added a call for an arms embargo – not only on Israel but Hamas and “Palestinian armed groups” as well.

At its national conference in November 2015, the Greens passed a resolution formally recognising the State of Palestine “as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution.”

Read the full article by Aharon Shapiro on the AIJAC website.