Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

Kevin Rudd calls for recognition of state of Palestine

Former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd “deeply fears the possibility of a third Intifada” and has urged Australia to officially recognise Palestine as a state.

Mr Rudd has joined Bob Hawke in calling for a change in Australian foreign policy ahead of a visit by Palestinian Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week.

Mr Netanyahu will speak at a Sydney synagogue on Wednesday but details of his visit are being kept secret for security reasons.

“The time has come for Australia to join countries like Sweden and the Holy See in formally recognising the Palestinian state,” Mr Rudd said in a statement.

“It is time for Australia to draw a line in the sand on this matter, as 137 states already have.”

Intifada is an Arabic word that translates to “shake off”. In the context of Arab-Israeli violence it refers to a concerted Palestinian attempt to shake off Israeli power and gain independence.

Mr Rudd said recent legislation by the Israeli Knesset legalising large-scale Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory on the West Bank fundamentally undermined the prospect of a two-state solution.

At the same time, US President Donald Trump was refusing to commit to a two-state solution, defying a succession of Republican and Democrat administrations in Washington.

“For these reasons, it is now critical for Israel’s closest friends and allies to send a clarion clear message to both Tel Aviv and Washington that the abandonment of a two-state solution is unacceptable,” he said.

“Australia is one such close friend and ally. It is not acceptable, therefore, for Australia to use weasel words.”

Read the full article by Joanna Mather in the Australian Financial Review.