Recognition of Palestine may be ‘symbolic’, but it is also critical – Middle East Monitor14 Aprile 2021
The recognition of Palestine as a State by the Australian Labor Party on 30 March is a welcome move, although it comes with many caveats. Pro-Palestine activists are justified in questioning the sincerity of the ALP’s stance and whether it is genuinely prepared to adopt this position fully should the party form a government after the 2022 election.
The language of the amendment regarding the recognition of Palestine is quite indecisive. While it commits the ALP to recognise Palestine as a State, it also “expects that this issue will be an important priority for the next Labor government”. That’s right: “expects”. This is not the same as confirming that the recognition of Palestine is resolved as policy should Labor take office.
Moreover, the matter has been an “important priority” for the ALP for years. In fact, similar language was adopted in the closing session of the party conference in December 2018. The delegates supported “the recognition and right of Israel and Palestine to exist as two states within secure and recognised borders” along with this important clause: the ALP “calls on the next Labor government to recognise Palestine as a State”.
Morrison was the Prime Minister of Australia when, in 2018, the ALP adopted what was clearly a policy shift on Palestine. In fact, it was Morrison’s regressive position on Israel that supposedly compelled Labor to develop a seemingly progressive position regarding Palestine. Nine days after former US President Donald Trump defied international law by officially recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel — and subsequently relocated the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied city — Morrison flirted with the same idea in the hope, no doubt, of enlisting the support of the pro-Israel lobbies in Australia prior to the election.
However, the Australian prime minister did not go as far as Trump. He refrained from moving his country’s embassy to Jerusalem, but developed instead an equally illegal position whereby he recognised West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and promised to move the embassy there “when practical, in support of, and after, final-status determination.”