AIJAC statement responding to Foreign Minister Carr’s legal claims on settlements

On Friday, August 9 , AIJAC put out a statement responding to controversial remarks on Israeli settlements by Foreign Minister Senator Bob Carr at Lakemba the previous day. Video on the SBS website shows Carr saying the following:

We in our government, and the members of the government behind me, made a decision that in the United Nations, Australia would not block the bid to lift the status of the Palestinians. And I am very, very proud that Australia’s hand did not go up against increased Palestinian status in the General Assembly of the United Nations…

And that’s why we say unequivocally all settlements on Palestinian land are illegal under international law and should cease. That is the position of Kevin Rudd, the position of the federal Labor government and we don’t make apologies for it…

A spokesperson for Senator Carr has now responded to criticisms of his remarks in a statement published on the J-Wire news website re-iterating his insistence that all Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal by virtue of the Fourth Geneva Convention. AIJAC has released the following statement in response to Senator Carr’s latest comments:

We disagree with Foreign Minister Bob Carr’s claim regarding the legality of settlements but that is not the principal problem with the policy shift he has led. We are disappointed that Senator Carr has altered a long-standing bipartisan policy in Australia by repeatedly asserting a contentious and disputed legal claim in a way which is both one-sided and which also potentially undermines progress towards a negotiated two-state resolution to the conflict.

A strong case can be made that the Fourth Geneva Convention does not apply in the West Bank and, even if it does, that it would not forbid Israeli settlements there. However, that aside, progress toward peace requires encouraging the Israelis and Palestinians to compromise and work together. Unequivocal proclamations on contentious legal claims prejudice the outcome of negotiations by narrowing the scope for compromise on important final-status issues, discourage flexibility in the negotiating process and detract from efforts to bridge the major differences between the two sides. We call on Senator Carr to return to the traditional bipartisan policy of placing principled and realistic support for negotiations toward a two-state resolution at the centre of Australia’s approach to Israeli-Palestinian issues.

Colin Rubenstein


Check Also

fighting antisemitism

Educate, engage, enforce: How we’re fighting antisemitism in Australia

There is a story that emerged from Kristallnacht, of the Jews of one German town …


  1. There is a slight sense of weakness and target miss frustration in the style of the statement from AIJAC.
    Contorted syntax, redundant expressions make for a sense of dragging, slow, seemingly endless conveyance of very straight forward situation.

    Rubinstein is not a legal mind as such, yet he employs a heavily laden forensic vernacular whilst not in a court of law. This is not a legal argument, but a tangible political situation.

    While Israel is prosecuting a Palestinian camp bent on dishonest, farcical tactics, based on a clear ideology of enmity toward Israel, we are not faced with a Court case unfolding in the ME.

    Simple phrases spelling directly and clearly reasons and concrete data behind Israel’s actions will put to rest the formal ineptitude emanating from a tendentious Australian FA Dept.

  2. Long before this latest outrage the ALP had clearly crossed its Rubicon on this issue.
    There were plenty of signs that it had made a “strategic” decision to join the European campaign of tacit support for the PLO’s 3-stage plan for the elimination of Israel.
    The ALP mouths hollow “support for Israel’s existence”, but undermines that existence by its slanders, its disregard for international law and conventions whenever these uphold Israel’s interests, and it is proud of these transgressions.
    Curiously, the very fact of the ALP’s constant mantra of “support for Israel’s existence”shows its awareness of the politicidal and genocidal forces that confront Israel, yet the ALP continually sides with them by omission and commission: just weigh in the military and moral balances, for example, on the one hand, Iran’s genocidal march , and on the other, the building of homes for Jews on what is legal Jewish land. Contrast the amount of venom, effort, time, energy, and lies which the ALP spends on the respective matters.
    Or on the fact that the PLO has never definitively cancelled its charter for Israel’s destruction.

    The Coalition now needs unequivocally to declare that so long as the “Palestinian Authority” continues to deny the Jewish right to the nation-state of Israel, the PA’s people do not deserve a state and that Israel’s territorial rights are legally guaranteed by the 1922 Mandate for Palestine. Moreover the Coalition needs to proclaim that it recognises that already Israel has made enormous territorial concessions for the sake of peace.

    The Coalition needs to declare that the PA’s indoctrination of generations of its children with racist hatred for “the offspring of pigs and monkeys” is one example of a multitude that its real face is directed not towards peace but towards politicide and genocide, regardless of what its second face says to the rest of the world.

  3. Okey the labor party is only showing it’s true colors. That is pandering to their ever increasing constituency the growing Arab/ Muslim community.. .. ”Emirates’ this, ‘Ethihad’ that…
    Similar to what is going on in Europe and Scandinavia the socialists will appease the Muslims by siding with the Palestinian issue. Every time Carr bashes Israel they get more votes from Western Sydney the Islamic capital of Australia.
    Never mind that all around Israel’s neighborhood including Hamastan there is chaos, violence and barbarism you would think our government would embrace the one stable democracy and not poke it with a stick. No doubt will still hear many of our Communal leaders bleat how there is no difference between the two Political parties on the Israel/Palestinian issue . No doubt the same leadership and naive rabbis will still go on and live in the past about their Multiculturalism Mishagas and encourage our government to increase the Islamic population via asylum seekers so to further dilute any Jewish influence if there ever was on the Middle East.

    • Michael, sorry to disillusion you, but let’s face it, the ALP is utterly indifferent to the complexion of regimes with which it has diplomatic and trade relations. Thus Australia’s booming trade with that paragon of democracy, China, proceeds sometimes briskly, sometimes frenetically, depending on the phase of the business cycle. And the Tibetan people continue to suffer, and even the Chinese people’s lot is not so brilliant.
      In fact, given the global realities, my guess is that the majority of the countries with which Australia has diplomatic relations which range from correct to excellent, are authoritarian or neo-fascist dictatorships.
      Oh, but I forgot: the ALP is oh so concerned about the “demographic realities” in Judea and Samaria and the “dangers” which they pose for Israel’s democracy.
      The ALP wants Israel to allow Hamas to get war materials via the sea , but is “concerned”for Israel’s future. Their contempt for our intelligence is outrageous, or maybe they just don’t care what we think.

  4. The pro-Israel community needs to stress to the Coalition :
    a. Australia’s good relations with Israel in the past have never compromised Australia’s trading relations with the Middle East. (For decades Arab states have been trading even with Israel when it suited them.)

    b. appeasing the aggressor will ultimately harm Australia by
    1. triggering a major war that will disrupt trade.
    2. further empower those reactionary global forces that are attempting to thrust the planet back to the Middle Ages.

  5. Geoff Dickson

    The UN is a basket case dominated by the OIC.
    President Clinton pressured Israel to sign the Oslo agreement with Arafat who cried out “Peace, peace, peace” in English and “Jihad, Jihad, Jihad” in Arabic.
    Trading land for peace by surrendering Gaza has been a disaster for Israel with the constant barrage of rockets fired indiscriminately into Israel. The Palestinians have a two state solution. They received 78% of the Mandate for Palestine when Britain resolved the quarrel between the Saudis and the Hashemite Arabs by taking away land promised to Israel by the League of Nations. The areas of Samaria, Judea and East Jerusalem which Jordan acquired through military aggression in an illegal war was never declared a “Palestinian state” for the 19 years they occupied the land. And today Jordan has been cancelling passports of those living in these areas to prevent their return. Bob Carr and all politicians should be made to read the Muslim Brotherhood Project document drafted in 1982 which identifies a multi point plan to overthrow western governments and restore the Caliphate. Points identified include:
    • Making the Palestinian cause a global wedge issue for Muslims;
    • Adopting the total liberation of Palestine from Israel and the creation of an Islamic state as a keystone in the plan for global Islamic domination;
    • Instigating a constant campaign to incite hatred by Muslims against Jews and rejecting any discussions of conciliation or coexistence with them;
    • Actively creating jihad terror cells within Palestine;
    • Linking the terrorist activities in Palestine with the global terror movement;

    There can never be peace as long as the Muslim Brotherhood have this as their agenda.

  6. Alan Freedman

    The facts of this matter are very simple: Bob Carr, the Europeans and the Americans all WANT the settlements to be illegal as this supports their anti-Israel position. The truth as Colin says,is that they are in fact not illegal.

    Israel’s problem is that the truth doesn’t seem to feature very highly on the radar, and can be overlooked by promoting a strong agenda.

    • When they use the term, “illegal”, they actually mean, “we don’t like them because the Arabs don’t like them.”
      It’s 1938/39- style appeasement, but, as Ariel Sharon told President Bush jnr, “We are not Czechoslovakia and we will not be Czechoslovakia.”
      Mr Bush was quite offended and called these remarks “unacceptable”, then he got 9/11 and presumably his eyes were opened to the “acceptability” of Sharon’s comment.

  7. Geoff, I think that the Oslo attempt was the brainchild of Peres, who persuaded Rabin that it was worth trying it. Clinton came into the picture later, when he exerted what one of the Israeli diplomats called “brutal pressure” on PM Barak, who, as you know, offered more than 90% of what the Arabs were demanding.
    Israel took a gamble in the interests of peace, but the gamble failed.
    HOWEVER, the Oslo Accords implicitly conceded that the “Palestinians” had sovereign or quasi-sovereign territorial/political rights in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, even BEFORE they agreed to even Israel’s MINIMAL security and territorial legal requirements. This concession gave Western appeasers a golden rationalisation for stepping up their pressure on Israel about “illegal settlements”. The Palestinian Arabs read into this, quite correctly, that if they renewed their terrorist campaign, the West would blame Israel, not them. Thus there was no mercy for the many hundreds of Israelis who were murdered in cafes, on buses, in hotels etc etc Another error on the part of Israel was bringing Arafat and his PLO back from his Tunisian exile to lead the Arabs.

  8. Geoff Dickson

    Okey, thanks for that background. It amazes me though that there were no escape clauses.
    Once the rockets started coming, the deal should have been terminated.
    Fact remains that ever since 1982, the intention has been clear. Palestine is a central wedge issue and the removal of Israel is the clear objective. Obama is now advised by the Muslim Brotherhood and Hilliary Clinton overrode Congress to release over 1 billion dollars in aid.
    Israel should not trade land in the hope of a peace agreement.

  9. Could I, please, get you fantastically articulate guys to agree with my following proposal:

    At the time of Oslo Israel knew that any “agreements” with the Palestinians will end up dead in the water. This was the reason Israel made concessions which today are not on the table at all.

    I am using my best ally in the theory, it’s name is Hindsight. You may call me an intellectual coward…………

    I am doing this because, let’s face it, by today’s negotiating standards – juxtapositions – Oslo is as obsolete, irrelevant as…..ever – initial point reiterated – and, as such, its mentioning is simply redundant .
    One supporting argument is that at Oslo time Palestinians were in a far stronger negotiating position, a lot more self assured in their arrogant posturing than today.

  10. Okey, there’s no doubt about it: terror has worked wonderfully well. Both in Israel and worldwide, threats of violence have forced countries to make concessions in the hope of being spared further acts of terror. Of course, people who have studied history know that appeasement doesn’t work, but politicians looking for a quick fix always seem to succumb.

    Geoff, couldn’t agree more – The UN is a basket case and the sooner free countries walk out and leave it to collapse under the weight of its totalitarian members, the better.

    Bob Carr isn’t interested in what the Muslim Brotherhood stand for. He just wants more votes, and it’s a question of simple arithmetic – there are many more Muslims than Jews.
    Who cares about morality when there’s votes to be had!

  11. Keith Moon, your comments tell me you have believed the lies peddled by people who hate Israel. Firstly, the land belongs to Israel both from God’s promise and secondly from the League of Nations in 1922. Ever since then, people have tried to delegitimize Israel.
    Samaria, Judea and all of Jerusalem belong to Israel so they are not “occupied”.

    Israel need only to look back to 1938 when Czechoslovakia was forced to hand over the Sudetenland to Germany to buy peace. Look what happened. One year later, the Nazis overran Czechoslovakia using the strategic advantage of the Sudetenland.
    It is a mistake to trade land for peace.
    Islamic scripture demands that Israel be destroyed. That is simply a fact.
    Israel should have learned from history that trading land does not bring peace.
    That is why giving up Gaza was a mistake and look what has happened.

    The Golan Heights are to Israel what the Sudetenland was to Czechoslovakia, a strategic military region and must never be surrendered to Syria.

  12. Ke ith Moon
    Full Moon celebrations for some people !
    This week a people warped in their ethics would welcome home into their (Jewish) blood thirsty bosom a couple dozen convicted criminals. In your passion for “justice”, not to mention mad (!) commitment to the knowledge of history, you would, no doubt, tolerate dedicated criminals who butchered entire families while asleep, children included, roaming freely once again on a land which is not theirs for starters. In your OD state, while sippin’ a cold one outside your place in the caravan park, you morally embrace: terrorists, liars, impostors, common criminals and mass murderers who dream of “martyrdom” granted by producing nothing but cold blooded murders. Such befitting company to you.

    • Keith quite frankly I believe trying to reach an agreement with Palestinian thugs is a lost cause. If they wanted a state they could have had it years ago. In any case if this Israel/ Arab/ Muslim/ Pal conflict was ever *resolved what would the rest of the Arab/ Islamic world do, who could they use as an excuse to continue to create havoc.
      The Arabs had their chance in 19 47/8 they blew it . Imagine if after WW2 the Nazis and Japs tried to dictate terms.
      The Israeli’s should build their Security Barrier higher and longer and let the Palestinians fight amongst them selves which is what they do best. Let the Israeli left and progressives go and live with their mates in Gaza . I’d like to see how the Gay progressives would be treated.
      Let Israel prosper and add value to the world as they have been doing since their inception.

      * resolved in Arab/Muslim terms means all Jews out of the Middle East.

  13. Geoff, I agree that to deny the land belongs to Israel from a legal point of view is pure propaganda. Even for those who are not religious, and so don’t accept the biblical promise, would have to admit that the legal basis for Israel’s legitimacy is rock solid. Funny how the deligitimisers don’t question the legality of the country that recieved the lion’s share of British Mandate Palestine, all of which was set aside for a Jewish homeland – Jordan. The British betrayed the Jews by handing over the land.

    Samaria, Judea (no, it’s not the West Bank) and all of Jerusalem belong to Israel. Jordan illegally occupied East Jerusalem in 1948, and until it was won back in a defensive war, no other religious groups were allowed to worship there. All the Jewish buildings in the Old City were desecrated, which is why the Jewish Quarter looks so clean and new compared with the other quarters. It had to be rebuilt.

    I guess those wanting to appease will start calling Jerusalem Al Quds!

  14. Keith, like any other decent person, I abominate the land thieves of the Arab-British Axis who stole 80% of the internationally recognised Jewish National Home, establishing in that 80% a puppet state of British imperialism, now called “The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan”.
    Keith, like any other decent person I abominate those in the West who collaborate rhetorically or materially with the politicidal and genocidal creatures known as the PLO and their followers and fellow travellers.
    Keith, like any other decent person I abominate those liars and rogues who misrepresent the international law applying to the status of Judea and Samaria and brazenly refer to “illegal settlements.”
    Like any other decent person, I can see through the faux humanity of Israel’s enemies, both Jewish and non-Jewish, whose zeal for the Arab cause is a fig leaf which they think can cover their hatred of the Jewish People.