Australia Could Recognize Palestine But Not Hamas

Foreign Minister Penny Wong suggested last week that Australia would consider recognizing a Palestinian state but said that Hamas had no role to play in the so-called two-state solution, Reuters reported.

In a policy shift for Canberra, Wong said in an April 9 speech at the Australian National University that she supported UK Foreign Minister David Cameron’s comments supporting the recognition of a Palestinian state, including at the UN, a move that would make a separate state irreversible.

Wong suggested that the current discussions in the international community about Palestinian statehood would help build momentum for a “two-state solution,” which she claimed was “the only hope to break the endless cycle of violence.”

Western leaders have long called for a two-state solution as a way to resolve the long-standing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. However, Hamas in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank do not seek two separate states but rather seek the complete obliteration of the Israeli state.

In February, Israel formalized its opposition to what it described as the attempt to unilaterally impose a separate Palestinian state on Israel and said that any agreement must be reached only through negotiations with Israel.

Wong added that she did not believe Hamas had a role in a future Palestinian state. She also dismissed the claim that recognizing a Palestinian state would reward Israel’s enemy, claiming that Israel’s security was dependent on it being recognized by the other countries in the region.

The Palestinian Authority earlier this month formally requested that the UN Security Council reconsider the PA’s 2011 application to become a full member of the United Nations. Currently, Palestinians are considered a non-member observer state at the UN.

Security Council President Vanessa Frazier, Malta’s ambassador to the UN, referred the PA application to the UN admission committee.