In response to Prime Minister Morrison’s announcement yesterday about the Australian government’s policy towards Jerusalem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, New Israel Fund Australia executive director Liam Getreu released the following statement.
“Prime Minister Morrison’s announcement is all about political spin and ignores the realities on the ground faced by Jerusalemites.
“Anyone who has been to Israel can see that West Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. But instead of focusing on how Australia can move Israelis and Palestinians closer to a peaceful resolution the Morrison government has spent months tidying up a controversy of its own making.
“While it was busy tying itself in semantic knots, the government overlooked the reality that Jerusalem is a divided city. Though the Israeli government may speak about Jerusalem as the ‘undivided’ capital of Israel, it is in fact anything but. Since the Six-Day War, more than fifty years ago, the Israeli government has de facto created two cities: a prosperous, modern city for Jews in West Jerusalem and a poor and underdeveloped city for 300,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem.
“Others may be distracted by politics, but NIF Australia has continued its partnership with Israeli civil society groups to bring education, healthcare, water and other critical services to residents of East Jerusalem to redress the inequity.
“We commend Labor’s announcement that it will increase funding to UNRWA, an important agency providing much needed humanitarian aid to Palestinians, and urge the Morrison government to not only match this new funding, but also ask the Trump administration to reconsider its decision to slash $200m from UNRWA’s budget.
“If Prime Minister Morrison wants a positive legacy on this issue, he should leverage the trust and goodwill Australia has with both parties and enact really important steps towards peace.”
Liam Getreu was on ABC AM this morning discussing the Morrison government’s announcement. You can listen on the ABC website.