In move to recognize Palestine, South Australia has overwhelming majority of Aussies behind it

Activism
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Australia is a federation of six states which, together with two self-governing territories, have their own constitutions, parliaments, governments and laws. The state where I live, South Australia, has a long and proud history of firsts especially in the area of social justice.  In 1856 South Australia was the first state to introduce universal male suffrage. In an Australian first, women were admitted to degree courses at universities in 1882. It was a world first in 1895 when women were able to vote and permitted to stand for Parliament in South Australia.

This proud history gained a new entry on June 22, 2017, when the South Australian Parliament passed a landmark motion calling on the Australian government to recognize the State of Palestine just as it recognizes the State of Israel.

This historically significant vote came about at the instigation of a member of Parliament, Tony Piccolo, and was successful largely due to the persistence and dedication of the Australian Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA) and its active membership.

Over the last 13 years an extremely focused group of pro-Palestinian advocates in South Australia have spent countless hours each week educating and lobbying politicians on the issue. At the same time deeply committed and persistent members of AFOPA have used public lectures, cultural events, street activism and social media to educate the general population about the human rights abuses occurring in Palestine and how they can help improve the situation for the Palestinians. These actions have resulted in a major shift in public opinion as almost 75 percent of South Australians are favor of the Australian government recognizing the State of Palestine.

Throughout the world currently, Palestine is recognized by 138 states including, most recently, Sweden and the Vatican. The British and French parliaments have voted in support of recognition by their respective governments. Recognition of Palestine by the Australian government is supported by 73 percent of Australians and, given that we already recognize Israel, would signal a more evenhanded approach by Australia. It would also signal to the government of Israel our commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

While state governments in Australia have no direct influence in international affairs, the motion effectively acknowledges that Palestine has become one of the great moral issues of the 21st century and that failure to secure a just peace could result in a new apartheid state two decades after apartheid ended in South Africa.

As Mike Khizam, executive officer of the Australian Friends of Palestine, says, “We applaud the leadership shown by the South Australian House of Assembly in calling for the recognition of the State of Palestine. This is also recognition of the right of the Palestinians to freedom and self-determination. Recognition enhances the prospects of peace in the Middle East. We call on other Australian State Parliaments to follow suit.”

As a South Australian, I am proud to say that our state’s parliament and government are standing on the right side of history in their empathy for the plight of the Palestinians and attempts to create equality and justice for all parties in this conflict. The Australian public is also on the right side of history on this issue and it is now time for our federal politicians to reflect the views of the general populace and vote to formally recognize the state of Palestine.

About Margaret Cassar

Margaret Cassar is an executive member of the Australian Friends of Palestine Association.

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9 Responses

  1. amigo
    July 17, 2017, 4:19 pm

    All due respect to these tireless defenders of Human Rights for all.

    Thank you from Ireland.

  2. RoHa
    July 17, 2017, 11:35 pm

    “In an Australian first, women were admitted to degree courses at universities in 1882.”

    Universities? There was only one university in South Australia in 1882. It was the University of Adelaide, founded in 1874.

    (Shortly afterwards, I got my first degree from that University.)

    • Mooser
      July 18, 2017, 12:06 pm

      “It was the University of Adelaide, founded in 1874.”

      Of Adelaide, and we hope, many other women, too.

    • amigo
      July 18, 2017, 2:06 pm

      “Universities? There was only one university in South Australia in 1882.” RoHa.

      I believe the author was referring to all of Australia.

  3. RoHa
    July 17, 2017, 11:45 pm

    And the craven, Zionist-arse-licking, slugs who pollute the benches in Federal Parliament will carefully ignore it.

  4. John Salisbury
    July 18, 2017, 9:08 am

    A lot of work is being done to prosecute the case for recognition at the state level .This ahead of the tri-ennial Labor Party Conference next year.

    Warmly applaud the tireless work for the Palestinian cause by Margaret and others in South Australia.

  5. German Lefty
    July 18, 2017, 2:46 pm

    “Recognition of Palestine by the Australian government is supported by 73 percent of Australians and, given that we already recognize Israel, would signal a more evenhanded approach by Australia.”

    An evenhanded approach does NOT lead to a just peace. It only plays into the hands of the Zionists who want a two-state solution in order to preserve the Jewish state.

    Recognizing Gaza and the West Bank as the state of “Palestine” is counterproductive because this move reduces Palestine to 22% of its actual size. Also, it totally ignores the Nakba and the Palestinian refugees’ right of return, which is the most essential issue of the conflict.

  6. JosephA
    July 19, 2017, 10:44 pm

    Keep up the good work!

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