Tue. May 28th, 2024

Labor MP breaks ranks with Anthony Albanese over Palestinian UN membership support

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell May18,2024
Key Points
  • The UN General Assembly has voted overwhelmingly in support of a Palestinian drive for full membership.
  • Australia was among 143 countries in the 193-member UN General Assembly that supported the motion.
  • Victorian Labor MP Josh Burns said Australia should have abstained from voting.
Australia should have abstained from voting on a “historic” motion to grant Palestinians full membership to the United Nations, a federal Labor MP says.
Victorian backbencher Josh Burns’ comments come after the 193-member UN General Assembly overwhelmingly backed a non-binding resolution that recommends the UN Security Council “favourably” reconsider Palestinians gaining full membership, after the United States .

There were 143 votes in favour — including Australia — and nine against — including the US and Israel. Twenty-five countries abstained.

The vote provides a modest extension of observer rights for Palestinians, while rejecting the goals and methods of militant group Hamas, condemning , and calling for , Australia’s UN representative James Larsen said.
Palestinian ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour had described the move as “historic” ahead of the vote — the outcome of which sparked an angry reaction from Israel’s envoy Gilad Erdan, who shredded a copy of the UN’s charter and labelled the decision “shameful”.
Burns’ remarks came as Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Foreign Minister Penny Wong said Australia’s decision to vote yes was consistent with the federal government’s support of .
Wong said the outcome would not fast-track Australian recognition of Palestinian statehood, which would occur when “the time is right”.
Burns — who is Jewish and is the federal MP for the seat of Macnamara, which has a significant Jewish community — said while it had been made clear the vote did not equate to recognition of Palestinian statehood, he believed Australia should have abstained.
He pointed in which she said Australia would only recognise a Palestinian state led by a reformed Palestinian Authority, and one where Hamas — which rules the occupied Palestinian territory of Gaza — would not have a role in its governance.

“In my opinion, these conditions have not yet been met,” he wrote in a statement posted on social media on Saturday.

Members of the United Nations General Assembly look at the results of a vote displayed on a screen while seated.

There were 143 votes in favour of the resolution — including Australia — and nine against — including the US and Israel. Twenty-five countries abstained. Source: AAP, SIPA USA / Derek French/SOPA Images

Burns added: “An abstention would have signalled we’re open to further recognition, but that we acknowledge the short-term hurdles that need to be overcome in order to achieve lasting peace.”

He said Jewish people would “rightly question the timing of this vote”, which comes amid concerns over following Hamas’ 7 October attack and .
“Antisemitism is on the rise in Australia and this decision will make Jewish Australians feel even more isolated as they remain gravely concerned for hostages in Gaza,” he said.
Wong and Albanese both acknowledged these concerns in their press conferences on Saturday.
Albanese said he understood the distress felt by Jewish Australians after the 7 October attack, but Palestinians also had the right to live in peace and security.
“The international community will have to play a role as we go forward, and that is why having the international community have some representation here from Palestinians was worthy of our support.

“You can support human rights for Palestinians without it denigrating the human rights of Israeli citizens.”

Palestinian Authority ‘must be committed to peace’

Wong reiterated a shift in the federal government’s position on the process of recognising Palestinian statehood, saying it could come during rather than at the end of a peace process.
She said the Palestinian Authority was key to achieving this, and that it must undertake “necessary reforms” so it could govern a unified West Bank and Gaza.
The Palestinian Authority over parts of the West Bank but lost power in Gaza following a struggle with Hamas in 2007.
The West Bank is under the control of the Palestinian Authority but is under international law.
The Palestinian Authority has been badly weakened over the years and surveys show it is deeply unpopular among Palestinians. But it remains the only leadership body generally recognised by the international community.
“We want to see a Palestinian governing authority that is committed to peace, that disavows violence, and is ready to engage in a meaningful political process,” Wong said.

She said the territory of a Palestinian state “should be defined through negotiations”.

What does the resolution mean?

The Palestinians are currently a non-member observer state, a de facto recognition of statehood that was granted by the UN General Assembly in 2012.
They are represented at the UN by the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank.
The General Assembly’s adoption of the resolution grants Palestine some additional rights and privileges from September 2024.
Those include the ability to make statements on behalf of a group, submit proposals and amendments and introduce them, and co-sponsor proposals and amendments, including on behalf of a group.
It also grants them “full and effective participation” in UN conferences and international conferences and meetings convened under the auspices of the General Assembly or other appropriate UN organs.
The Palestinians can also propose items to be included in the provisional agenda of the regular or special sessions, and gives members of the delegation of the State of Palestine the right to be elected as officers in the plenary and the main committees of the General Assembly.
However, they will not be granted a vote in the body.
An application to become a full UN member first needs to be approved by the 15-member Security Council and then the General Assembly.
If the measure is voted on again by the council it is likely to face the same fate it did in April: a US veto.

With the Australian Associated Press.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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One thought on “Labor MP breaks ranks with Anthony Albanese over Palestinian UN membership support”
  1. Australia made a mistake by voting in favor of Palestinian UN membership. The country should have abstained from such a crucial vote. I believe Josh Burns has a valid point in advocating for a different approach on this matter.

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