Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Devolution of ALP Middle East Policy

In 1986, the Australian Labor Party's Middle East policy sought a "just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East." It affirmed United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, which calls for Israel to "withdraw from territories occupied" in 1967. It affirmed UNSC Resolution 465/80, which states that "... Israel's policies and practices of settling parts of its population... in those territories [occupied since 1967] constitute a flagrant violation of the Geneva Convention..." It affirmed UNSC Resolution 476/80, which "[u]rgently calls on Israel, the Occupying Power... to desist... from persisting in the policy and measures affecting the character and status of... Jerusalem."

Back in 1986, at least on paper, justice and peace hadn't yet parted company. Back then, Israel was fingered unequivocally as an Occupying Power engaged in the crimes of colonizing the occupied Palestinian territories and judaising occupied Arab East Jerusalem. Back then, Israel was the problem, and it was expected to mend its ways by getting out of the occupied Palestinian territories.

In 2004, the ALP's Middle East policy supported the "right of Israel to live in peace and security within secure and recognised borders," but also the "right of self-determination for the Palestinian people, including their right to their own independent state." The Federal Government was enjoined to "lend every support to the peace process, in particular through the UN..."

By 2004 then, while Israel was busier than ever occupying, colonising and judaising the occupied Palestinian territories and occupied Arab East Jerusalem, it had somehow, mysteriously acquired a "right" to do so, undisturbed by resistance from the occupied! Justice, of course, had long since parted company with "peace and security." But the Palestinians' "right of self-determination" somehow managed a foot in the door, while the UN, alas, put in a final, fleeting appearance before going the way of the dodo.

In 2007, the ALP's Middle East policy called for a "lasting and equitable solution to the problems that have worked against stability and development in the Middle East." It referred to the "rights of all peoples in the Middle East to peace and security," and the "urgent attainment of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

By 2007, it seems, the Middle East conflict had become, frankly, a pain in the butt, hindering easy imperial exploitation of the area. With the UN and international law long since gone to God, all that mattered was "stability and development." With all talk of occupier and occupied being, like, sooo yesterday, and the Occupying Power having the same right to "peace and security" as the occupied, a "two-cake solution," with Israel getting the cake and the Palestinians the crumbs, was all the rage.

In 2009, the ALP's Middle East policy reads simply: "That Conference supports the latest peace initiatives to support a two-state solution where both Israelis and Palestinians live in peace and within secure borders."

This means - if it means anything - that the ALP supports whatever peace process charade the Americans are prepared to stage, while the Israelis get on with erecting and expanding their Greater Israel edifice and confining the Palestinians to its interstices aka a Palestinian state.

And the 'brains' behind this latest formulation? Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Support & Water Dr Mike Kelly, who just happens to be married to a cousin of former Israeli PM (2006-2009) Ehud Olmert*; and former ALP national president Warren Mundine, who has visited Israel twice, the first on a Yachad Scholarship in 2006, the second with Deputy Prime Minister Gillard in July. [*Olmert has the distinction of being the first Israeli PM to face trial on corruption charges.]

In speaking to their resolution, Kelly called on the Labor movement "to contribute to the process of moving forward rather than wasting energy looking back," and urged it "to fight against Islamic extemism 'given its fundamental denial of human rights, its tenets of gender inequity and intolerance of social and religious diversity'." (ALP recommits to two-state solution at national conference, The Australian Jewish News, 7/8/09)

Yes, comrades, history, international law, matters of justice and injustice - such a bore! The Middle East conflict is really just another chapter in the Clash between Western Civilization and Islamic Barbarism.

Mundine "hit out at people who claim to be friends of Palestine... 'If they are real friends, they have got to work with Israelis, work with Palestinians. I'm very optimistic things can happen. Real friends work in conversation and urge each other forward to the peace process'." (ibid)

You go first. No, you go first. No, I insist, you...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So why the change? I'm willing to bet that the ALP saw how easily the Zionist lobby dismantled the Australian Union of Students in the early 1980s and decided that they did not want to be next.