Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has praised his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull for calling out the “hypocrisy” of the United Nations.
Mr Turnbull rebuked the UN for adopting what he labelled “one-sided” resolutions that are critical of Israel’s settlements in Palestinian territories.
Those comments, outlined in an opinion piece in The Australian newspaper, were welcomed by Mr Netanyahu on the first day of his Australian visit.
“I wasn’t surprised by the friendship expressed in the article but I had no advance warning so when I landed I was given the paper, I was delighted to read it,” Mr Netanyahu said.
“Australia has been courageously willing to puncture UN hypocrisy more than once.
“The UN is capable of many absurdities and I think it’s important that you have straightforward and clear-eyed countries like Australia that often bring it back to earth.”
Mr Netanyahu is the first sitting Israeli leader to visit Australia, and discussed security, science and technology issues with Prime Minister Turnbull.
Mr Netanyahu said Australia was a “very good” friend to Israeli and the trip was “a long time coming”.
Mr Turnbull reaffirmed Australia’s commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Wednesday, but said the Government would not join those seeking to chastise Israel alone for the failure of that peace process.
Moons may be aligning to restart negotiations
At one point, Mr Turnbull physically turned towards Mr Netanyahu and suggested it could be a good time to restart negotiations with Palestinian authorities.
“I agree with you in that the circumstances of the times in your area … do appear to create the opportunity where perhaps the moons are aligning such that this could be a good time to come back to the table and reach an agreement,” he said.
But of course as with any agreement it needs two to tango.”
The two sides have not had any substantive peace talks since 2014.
“I prefer not to deal with labels but with substance and I ask both former prime ministers what kind of state will it be that they’re advocating? A state that calls for Israel’s destruction? A state whose territory will be used immediately for radical Islam?”
The tension within the ALP about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been simmering for some time.
The 2015 ALP National Conference passed a motion that said if there was no progress towards a two-state solution, then a future Labor government would “discuss joining like-minded nations who have already recognised Palestinian territories”.