Sunday, March 2, 2014

In Pursuit of Whose Interests?

"[F]or the first time, DFAT has been forced to release, via Freedom of Information laws, its behaviour bible for Australian officials overseas... It lays out what people and groups they can and cannot fraternise with... It even advises on how to address envelopes for letters to Palestinian authorities or Taiwanese officials, lest the careless use of a capital letter in the wrong place cause diplomatic offence to Israel or China... 'There are no restrictions on courtesy calls, invitation to and correspondence with the PLO, however, no endorsement should be given to the claim that it represents 'Palestine' or the 'State of Palestine', the guidelines say. 'Any correspondence to Palestinian officials in the West Bank and Gaza should be addressed Palestinian Territories'." (Walking on eggshells, Cameron Stewart, The Australian, 28/2/14)

Absurd, I know, but just look at associate editor, Cameron Stewart's (rambammed 2005) bizarre conclusion:

"But for Australian envoys and officials, it is just another bullet to be dodged in the pursuit of Australia's interests in an increasingly complex world."

In truth, this diplomatic beating around the bush with respect to Palestine has bugger all to do with Australia's interests, and everything to do with toeing the Israeli line - as the following Israeli report makes abundantly clear:

"The IDF says it has turned away Gazan medical patients seeking treatment outside their territory because referral letters were marked 'State of Palestine', a status Israel does not recognize. The UN General Assembly recognized such a state in late 2012, an upgrade Israel rejected... The Palestinian Authority, a self-rule government, uses 'State of Palestine' on most stationary, but not in correspondence with Israeli authorities." (Israel rejects 'State of Palestine' letterhead,, 12/2/14)

Not that Australian diplomats' pursuit of Israeli interests comes as any sort of revelation, mind you. After all, as I've amply documented, even our ambassador to Israel is doing stirling work... representing Israel to Australia. (Just click on the Dave Sharma label below and you'll see what I mean.)

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