Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull should take a hard line on Israeli settlements and push for a recommitment to the Two-State solution with Palestinians when he meets Benjamin Netanyahu this week, former foreign minister Bob Carr says.
Mr Netanyahu arrives in Sydney for a historic four-day visit on Wednesday, a week after US President Donald Trump called for Israel to pull back on settlement expansion on occupied Palestinian land while backing away from America’s long-standing support for a Two-State solution to secure peace.
Mr Carr says Mr Turnbull should warn his Israeli counterpart he risks destroying the chances of establishing separate independent states for Israelis and Palestinians by expanding Jewish settlements on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.
“The prime minister should make it clear that Australia and Australians are opposed to the spread of settlements on the occupied West Bank because they are steadily burying the prospect of a Palestinian state,” Mr Carr told AAP.
Israeli was condemned by the United Nations Security Council last December over its settlements, which were branded illegal under international law and are seen as a major obstacle to securing peace.
Mr Trump last week asked Mr Netanyahu to “pull back” on the settlements but said he could “live with” either a one-state or two-state solution as long as the Israelis and Palestinians were happy.
Mr Carr said Mr Turnbull should use his talks with Mr Netanyahu to challenge the notion of a one-state solution, which could involve a shared Israeli-Palestinian state covering all of Israel and the West Bank.
Some observers fear that Palestinians living in the shared state would not be granted equal rights to Israelis.
“Mr Turnbull should ask the Israeli prime minister whether under a one-state solution the Palestinians on the West Bank would have voting rights in Israeli national elections,” Mr Carr said.
“He should point out that without that, Israel would cease to be a democracy.”
The Israeli prime minister is currently in Singapore, where he told a state dinner he believed there was a chance to secure peace because he sensed a “great change in the Arab world” that he hoped would help solve the long-running conflict between his country and Palestinians.
Mr Carr is one of four senior ALP figures including former prime ministers Bob Hawke and Kevin Rudd who believe the time has come for Australia to grant diplomatic recognition to Palestinians.
“Given this talk of a one-state solution and given the 5000 new settlements that are being flung out over on Palestinian land the world has now got no alternative but to recognise the Palestinian state,” Mr Carr said.
“Given what’s happening and given the recent level of settlement activity and the Israelis retreating from the two-state solution Australia and like-minded countries should join the 138 nations that already recognise Palestine.”