Melbourne Joint Communique Omits Israeli Support for Two-State Solution

YERUSHALAYIM -

Australia has reaffirmed its support for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, but in a joint communique from Melbourne, Israel refrained from doing so, the The Times of Israel reported on Thursday.

The official statement read: “Australia reaffirmed its commitment to Israel’s right to exist, as the nation-state of the Jewish people, in peace within secure borders, and its steadfast opposition to attempts to undermine Israel’s legitimacy. Israel thanked Australia for its consistent support in this regard. Both countries restated their support for a directly negotiated peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Australia affirmed its support for a two-state solution.”

Statements of this kind are usually worked over painstakingly by both sides before release to the public, especially on an important issue such as this, and the omission was unlikely to have been inadvertent. In light of discussion about a possible one-state solution since President Donald Trump said he could go along with it in the recent Washington summit with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the Melbourne comminque will probably generate further questions about Israeli policy.

Also on Thursday, Netanyahu met with 11 Australian ministers and urged them to adopt a tougher stance visa vis Iran. Following the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Australia was among the countries that began to resume normal ties with Teheran.

The Australians might be willing to consider a change in policy, one senior diplomatic official was quoted by The Jerusalem Post as saying, but it is still a “work in progress.”

During his visit to Australia, Netanyahu has been attacking the Iran deal with renewed vigor, saying that it “allows no bombs today, but a hundred bombs a decade from now.”